My salad dressing days


The faintest whiff of desperation – do you smell it?
July 26, 2006, 9:21 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I make no secret of it: I’m a little lacking in the friends’ department just now.

My nearest and dearest chums are still in The Big Smoke (although I am working on enticing at least one, if not two of them up north).

I mentioned to one of these friends, whilst we were chatting online the other day, my concern that there was an air of desperation about my interactions with other human beings just now.

J: But you don’t do desperate!
UC: It’s sweet of you to say so, but I fancy I sounded on the psychopathic side of eager in the note I wrote to A (mutual ex-schoolmate) last week.
J: I find that hard to believe…what did you say?
UC: Um, hi and it was sooooooooooo great to see you the other day. Perhaps we can have lunch sometime soon, with the kids. Or without the kids (if you prefer!). Or maybe dinner. (I can do most weekday evenings!) Or maybe just coffee if you’re busy. And hey! Maybe you can introduce me to that friend of yours who you said lived in my street? But anyway, call me sometime or email me or feel free to drop by my house anytime or whatever!
J: Ah, I see what you mean…

Y’see, every encounter with another human being has become A Potential Lead-In To A New Friendship.

My internal monologue is usually something like this: yes, yes, you’re nice. We appear to have something in common (you’re buying Grazia magazine in my local newsagent’s too, frinstance). You seem pleasant enough. Pleasant enough, if a little socially inept. But that’s okay. Very often the pleasant but socially inept have friends who are pleasant and socially ept, so if we hang out a few more times, perhaps I will end up meeting some of your pleasant and socially ept friends who might, in time, become my friends. (And, if I’m lucky, they too will be the sort of people who buy Grazia magazine only very very occasionally, and only when no-one they know is looking, in which circumstance they would reach for a copy of the New Statesman – just like me.)

I mean, you know things have come to a pretty pass when you find yourself starting up a conversation with the guy in front of you in a queue in the local supermarket with the line: “Goodness, are those FLYING ANTS out there?! ‘Cause they’re biting me to buggery!”

So, if anyone knows anyone who knows ANYONE who might care to be my newbestfriend in the ‘Burgh, lemme know.

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15 Comments so far
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Ah yes. The moving to a place with no friends quandary. Partner likes to us a technique she calls “glomming on,” which it seems you have the knack of: make an acquaintance, no matter the qualities, and then see if said acquaintance has any decent friends to share.

I feel your pain and have been there. Best of luck, but it’s only a matter of time before your charming self has a good friend or two.

Comment by Whinger

I’ve been there too.
Haven’t the chicklets introduced you to some mums?
Oh dear, perhaps you’ll be reduced to joining the local stamp collectors club or some such interesting group.

Comment by mig bardsley

The bad news comes from Aristotle: ‘The desire for friendship comes quickly. Friendship does not.’ But the encouraging and practical news is: friendship, like happiness, comes indirectly – aim at it head-on and it heads-off. So why is this encouraging and practical? It means that if you do other things that make for friendship (like have kids, a fetish for shoes, engage a sparkling intellect online and elsewhere, enjoy the city) then friendship, of high quality, will inevitably follow.

Comment by Mark Vernon

well, I am trying (GSE here) but unless someone buys my flat I’m stuck. Still, will try again in September.

word ver: mkoeduhb – that surely means something in Gaelic. That’s got to be an omen hasn’t it? Hasn’t it????

Comment by shoppersaurus rex

It’s like Freshers’ Week all over again, except nobody cares which A-levels you did.

In that vein, I can only remind you that, as in Freshers’ Week, it’s best to make friends S-L-O-W-L-Y in any case…otherwise you’ll spend the next three years trying to drop the losers that you’ve acquired early on.

And don’t forget – your friendship is something that anyone would be lucky to have…so you should be picky when choosing your friends (look at me; you’ve failed to shake me off after 19 years…)

19 years?? Ouch. Am feeling old.

Comment by the plate invigilator

I’ve moved to cities where I knew nobody a couple of times.

Um, moving into a shared house and high-jacking all your new flatemates’ friends isn’t really an option though, is it?

Comment by Spinsterella

feel compelled to write something but what advice can I give having lived in DC for 2 years, made friends with an ex-copper from Hull who quickly turned out to be a GYE-nor-mouse tw*t? I couldn’t even mingle at a reception in the Embassy for the Rolling Stones for pity’s sake – though Mick Jagger didn’t turn up, mostly that Ronnie Wood geyser and who the chuff is he?

In my defence I did always talk to big dog lady (it was the dogs that were big rather than the lady, she was actually very average sized, quite small actually I suppose, certainly for American standards) when we bumped into her in the park. AND tennis man. But as you may have worked out we never actually established what their names were or went to their houses for brownies or anything.

And where we live now, chums n’est ce pas? Ah non. The woman who lives next door talks to us but then she needs to go through our garden to take the bin out (tiptoeing carefully through the cat sh*t that HER pet scatters with abundance so I don’t think it’s a purely altruistic gesture on her part). Anyway she sunbathes wearing a black bikini, woollen socks and a pair of stiletos (2 ll’s or 1?) so she’s not exactly prime bestchum material. That’s Essex for you, give me ‘burgh any day…

Comment by Anonymous

whinger: aha! there is a name for this practice (feel much reassured to know that it is a recognised technique

mig: stamp collecting? now there’s a night class i hadn’t considered…

spinny: prolly not…

mark, plate invigilator and anonymous: ’tis ironic (in the alanis sense of the word) that the post in which i bemoan my lack of friends gets replies from the three chums i am missing most – GET THEE TO DA ‘BURGH PRONTO, PEOPLE!!

GSE: and you too – do hurry up!

Comment by Urban Chick

My ex-boyfriend’s gran lives there. She is very nice. Going on 90, mind you, but you do sound desperate.

On the other hand, I can offer my services. When you’re going through all that morning chaos stuff, I can reassure you that a whiskey at the end of the day makes it all better.

Comment by Martha

martha: d’you have her phone number…??

Comment by Urban Chick

I actually find that a whisky at the START of the day makes me feel better. And you are in the home of whisky (and Walkers Petticoat Tails, come to that) so what are you waiting for??

Suggest you restart Spanish evening classes. Or Gaelic.

Comment by the plate invigilator

I hear ya. I’ve just moved to Glasgow from Lahndan Town and know hardly anyone here, and my partner is on the other side of the world for a couple of months. Fortunately, in Glasgow, you just have to stand at a bus stop for a few minutes and someone will start talking to you. The problem here is how to escape…

Photography classes are quite good for making friends, as there’s usually quite a range of people, some of whom are bound to be interesting.

As for those flying ants – they were MENTAL through here the other day. Positively biblical.

Comment by Jamie

ah, been there, done the NCT coffee mornings…. the problem with london is that most people come from somewhere else so are happy to mingle and are looking to make friends… I spent 20 happy and friend filled years there (sigh) most of my friends (apart from the online ones!) are still there, or in my old home town (from 30 yrs ago). We get spoiled by living in London – then we move to places where people live round the corner from their mums and grannies and all of a sudden we’re in a different world…..

My advice would be forget about it , concentrate on the friends you have – isn;t the internet a wonderful thing? – be open to the possibility of new friends rather than look for them….

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