Here’s something I don’t really understand. How exactly are you supposed to make friends after your academic life ends? Work friends don’t count. They never will!
When Rene moved to the UK from South Africa one of the hardest parts was leaving her family and friends behind. Since then the majority of her family have followed her over and we’re just missing the friends part. I consider myself to have 3 close friends, I probably speak to them about 4 times a year. All of them I met in college. I just don’t understand how to start the process of forming a relationship when you’re not forced to share a room with someone 8 hours a day.
As a kid in primary school you can walk up to someone tell them you are going to join in their game and be best friends by the end of lunchtime. In college / university you can bond over whatever coursework is particularly annoying or by ridiculing a lecturer for having some physical deformity that they cannot help and have probably taken years of therapy and antidepressants to overcome. After uni suddenly starting a conversation with a stranger results in weird looks or an invitation to go dogging.
It’s something I feel quite guilty about, flights to South Africa aren’t cheap and if we keep going back there we’ll never see the rest of the world, so essentially I have severed my wife’s ties to her friends back home. I have every intention of being one of those smug couples who hosts dinner parties. I own an expensive BBQ that has only been used once, and nobody even wore a comedic apron. As you may know from previous articles (or just because you know me, let’s face it you’re the only people reading this tripe) Rene is heavily pregnant at the moment (less than a month to go!) Due to this we have started going to antenatal classes with other young adults with poor family planning.
We weren’t sure if we wanted to go at first as let’s face it, there’s nothing you can’t learn on the internet these days and after doing some research I assumed childbirth would be similar to what the Thai woman on the video was doing, just with less propulsion. My reason for deciding we should go was that I wanted Rene to know at least one or two other women in her age range that had been through or would be going through what she was. So we went, and we sat and listened to a geordie midwife talk about vaginas and towels for two hours and nobody in the building made eye contact with anyone else. I actually have to go to another one tomorrow, if I remember i’ll update you if anything changes, but so far it’s like the least interesting one woman show you will ever see.
Part of our problem is we don’t go out, we’re internet people. We met online, we play games online and we watch tv online. Other than eating that pretty much describes our existence down to a t. But even when we do go out to music festivals / restaurants / the cinema etc etc like normal human beings, we go together, so we talk to each other… At what point in a movie is it acceptable to lean over to the people in front and ask them if they want to go for an ice cream afterwards?
The reason I say work friends don’t count is they are being paid to be there, usually confined to a specific seat or section that you just happen to work in. You can’t call a work friend a real friend in the same way you can’t call an escort your girlfriend; unless you pay him extra. The only way a work friend becomes a real friend is if you hang out on non work days, the pub after work doesn’t count. It’s a forced social situation that most people are just too shit at coming up with excuses for. If you and your work buddy spend a decent amount of time on your days off work together then you can be actual friends. Not so popular now are you! Me neither…
For Christmas Rene got me a shit load of vouchers for free paintball games, enough for about 90 hours of paintball individually but they can be split among friends. I literally don’t know enough people to organise a full game of paintball. Don’t get me wrong I’m not complaining, me and my 3 college friends will play the shit out of that paintball… It just might look a little tragic when we keep coming back again and again to play alone.