Multiplayer lobby anxiety

I struggle with an interesting anxiety problem. Multiplayer lobbies, for some reason, are one of the scariest parts in any video game. Slenderman has nothing on that fear of being rejected in a game!

Why is it, that lobbies are so scary?

More than once I’ve found myself sitting in a lobby, waiting for the game to start. As the countdown timer slowly ticks down, I simply decide to leave because I’m to nervous to actually enjoy the game any more. Sometimes I don’t even get to the lobby, and just sit in the main menu, mouse hovering over the multiplayer button, wondering whether I should commit and try find a game or just find something else to play.

I have a theory, based on no scientific evidence at all, that lobbies are terrifying simply because we have to commit to working with a team or putting up with enemies trying to put you on tilt for an entire game. The worst struggle is when I’m playing a game that I’m not experienced in. I think that we don’t want to be seen as stupid/incompetent, and so we have this weird gaming performance anxiety, where we don’t want to put ourselves in a position that could lead to humiliation.

If I’m playing Call of Duty, no problem, I know the mechanics and I can just go for it, knowing that I’ll perform decently enough. But League of Legends, where I’m mediocre on a good day? All I want to do is run for the hills (in this case the hills are games I’m more comfortable in).

Am I alone in struggling against this weird online form of social anxiety? How do you feel about multiplayer lobbies?


  1. Scott

    Thanks for posting this. I’ve been very pleasantly surprised by the level of support and understanding of mental health issues I have found in the gaming community.

    I recognise some of my own behaviours here. In fact I tend to avoid multiplayer games on the basis that I assume others will always be better than me and I’ll make a fool of myself trying.

    Guess sometimes you have to just say screw it and embrace the inner noob.

    1. Justin (Post author)

      Thanks Scott!

      I think you are right about the embracing the inner noob bit, although it is a lot easier to do that in games that allow you to turn chat off haha!

      I think us people that struggle with this should create a clan where we can play against people who are just as anxious. The NABS: Negating Anxiety Brothers & Sisters xD


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