I'm in my first ever game of Stellaris, so I'm still learning how everything works. Playing as an Autocratic Technocracy, I was getting pretty worried about the rapidly expanding UN (with their constant "ideology" casus belli) on my western border. I'd spent a good century buttering them up with trade deals, commercial/research/migration agreements, etc. (their opinion of me was ~+100), but I was still concerned. I figured the safest place to be would be in a federation with them, so I rushed the diplomacy tree and got that tradition. I did have to change my war policy to "defensive," but I wasn't planning on conquest anyways so I figured it was worth it. Once I did that, they were more than happy to join me! Opinion steadily increases to nearly +200.
AND THEN. I get a war request from the UN (ideology CB, of course). Given that I had had to renounce aggressive wars to join up, I was a little miffed. I declined. Some of you may already see where this is going. The next day, they asked again. I declined again. This went on for quite a while: them constantly asking, me constantly declining to teach this other empire of our peaceful ways by force. Luckily, I eventually got so annoyed that I started letting them expire instead of immediately declining just so I wouldn't get quite as many pop-ups.
Incoming diplomatic message from the UN: Migration Treaty cancelled. What?
So I go to the dominant screen and find that my closest ally now had an opinion of me of -99. Trying to see what had happened, I found the culprit. "Declined war invitation: -349 (+1/yr). Oh. Fuck.
I certainly didn't want that to get any lower, so the next day when they inevitably invited me to war again I accepted, hoping that that would (at least partially) eliminate the penalty for declining, since it was all from the same CB and empire that I was now fighting. No dice.
"Well, maybe I need to win the way first before they'll be grateful?" So I go, prosecute the war (I was fed president), and lead us to a responsibility victory. They surrendered, we installed a new government who liked us a lot… and almost as soon as the smoke cleared the UN left the federation, cancelled all our treaties, closed their borders, and declared me their rival. Turns out that, nope, there's no reputation boost for helping them out in a war. Crap.
So now I have a very angry neighbor (hostile, opinion at -200 and falling) with a more powerful fleet who's started signing deals with empires on the other side of my territory whose only thing in common is that for whatever reason they hate me.
TL;DR: didn't realize that declining a war invite from a federation member had an opinion penalty. Did it a bunch of times. Closest ally now hates my guts and looks like they're about ready to declare war on me. Shit.
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