There comes that time when people outside of your gaming friends discover your "hobby." This pending event can give some gamers stress and once it happens, it can be the source of tremendous grief.
I have three families you could say and each one has reacted to the hobby in different ways. My real family, my online family and my work family.
My real family supports me... since I make money
I kid, they support me either way. It's something I do at home to keep myself off the streets and out of trouble.
My real family knows how important it is that I have an outlet for my energy that has nothing to do with real-world work. The fact that I make money doing commission work only gives me a little bit of ground to stand on when I say I should be painting models instead of cutting the grass right now.
I will say that my extended family doesn't really understand what I do with the hobby to include the painting and sculpting and blogging. They look at it all as though it was "art" and that it's just a hobby of mine. Like reading books would be a hobby for someone.
My online family supports me... at least most of them do.
That's you guys in case you didn't know. To say you all have been anything less than completely supportive would be a lie. From comments to emails and everything in between, 99.999 percent of it is positive and it's the reason I keep doing what I'm doing.
That being said, there is a small percentage out there (in any aspect of life though) that will never be happy with what you're doing and will always have something negative to say. The larger or more well known you become, the more vocal those folks seem to become sometimes. It's something you learn to work around.
My work family sees this as source of endless grief.
And then one day my work family found out about my hobby. And it's been an endless source of entertainment for them ever since. Some of them don't understand it all and never will (miniature wargaming) and some of them are interested but don't want to appear like they are.
Sure, I've tried to explain it the best I could to those who could sit still for longer than 3 seconds and have an attention span longer than 2 year old child, but in the end, it made no difference. They act like they don't get it... they can't figure out why someone would spend their free time and money on something like this.
Obviously it hasn't stopped me from staying involved in the hobby. If anything, it's had the opposite effect. Some people will get it, others won't and it doesn't matter what you say or do.
So what's a gamer to do?
Don't worry about it. Simple as that. You certainly shouldn't be ashamed of your hobby. There are far worse things you could be involved in. I don't hide the fact that I play "little nerd man armies" as my work family calls it or "little men" as my real family does. It's how they understand it.
As for me, I simply enjoy the time I have doing it. It's a creative outlet for me that allows me to temporarily disconnect from the stress and reality of the real world and do something with my time that I enjoy doing.
I hope you can get to or are already at this point too.