I was just joking back and forth on social media tonight with someone that I asked to leave a game of mine one time. It wasn’t a vitreous argument, it was more of a “you only show up once every three sessions, and it’s really hard to deal with slotting your character back into my games.” We were both adults, and it worked out well, and we’ve talked online for years since that incident.
I had another player that disappeared, and his roomate was part of my game. The roomate said he had no idea where the other player had gone, and we didn’t see him for three sessions. I gave his seat away to another player, and he was very upset when he showed back up after a month of being gone. It was kind of awkward.
Another player just refused to go along with a session I was running and told me I was “doing it wrong,” after dragging his feet and not taking hooks for the previous three sessions. I told him that our play styles didn’t mesh and he may want to consider other games. While he left that game, he continually signs up for my games at conventions when I run them (and he’s at least a little bit more cooperative).
Finally, I had one player that started missing sessions right when their character became the center of the plotline because of their character’s family. After missing three sessions with the rest of the group having no reason to be where they were unless the missing character was present, I asked them if they were still part of the group, and they withdrew. They later told me that they were having issues with not wanting to leave the house, but not wanting to deal with it until they hit game night and just stayed home without saying anything. I still talk to them infrequently today, and am on good terms with them.
I reflect on this because it is often very stressful to confront someone that may not be a good fit for a game, but looking back on it, only one of those situations was bad, and one of them is a little awkward once a year, but still an improvement over the original campaign behavior. It’s hard to get psyched up for “the talk,” but sometimes its the best thing you can do.