F32 desperately seeking: a confidante, partner in crime and faithful sidekick.
Must possess the wit of Dorothy Parker and the loyalty of Winnie the Pooh.
You will have an appreciation for Youtube cat videos, killer make up skills that you don’t mind sharing, and a European frankness that I envy. Ideally you would not be put off by endless discussions about the best survival tactics for the zombie apocalypse, tolerant of my bibliovore ways, and prefer pyjama parties to parties.
We’ll argue over who loves Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie more, but I’ll always let you win.
No racists, homophobes or misogynists need apply.
I’ve been thinking a lot about friends recently
The ones I have.
The ones I’ve lost.
And the ones I hope to make in the future.
I know I am lucky. I have a few best friends who have known me for aeons and feel like family but most of them live far away.
I have a smattering of friends from Uni, work and my early twenties who I don’t always see as often as I would like. When I do it seems like no time has passed and we’re drunk on the ghost of green shit and possibilities. I have lots of friends I’m still in contact with via the wonders of social media. And there are one or two friends I’ve phased out because of… reasons.
But I miss having close friends nearby.
I want to have friends like I did when I was 15 and you just knew that when Friday night came you were hanging out together, no exceptions. I miss that.
I miss living alongside people like I did at Uni, always knowing that day night there would be somebody there.
I miss how easy it was to make friends when you were 5 and all that qualified someone for BFF status was that they loved Jem and Holograms too.
I miss the intensity of the friendships I used to have when you were so attuned you knew almost everything about each other.
Growing up changed things. I love my work which is so demanding and fulfilling, but I worry it doesn’t leave enough space for me time let alone time with my husband, family and friends.
But still I crave more friends. I want a Miranda to my Carrie. A Serena to my Blair. A Buffy to my Willow. A Cici to my Hilary. An Ann to my Lesley. A Idgie to my Ruth.
I want a friend I can call up and be like ‘Want to get into our jammies and watch RuPaul’s drag race for the fiftieth time and lets talk about who is the fiercest vs the fishiest?’ And she replies ‘Yes, Mama.’ And we do.
There is just one problem – me.
I am supremely absymal at making friends. Glaciers form friendships quicker than I do.
My supreme social awkwardness doesn’t help. I find small talk excruciating and it can take me years before I become familiar with people enough to relax. I could get all analytical and tell you it was down to being bullied at school, which I am sure had its effect. But really I think I’ve always regarded new people like a dog views a living room full of cats. The best I can hope for is to be tolerated but I’d settle for outright disdain. This attitude definitely isn’t helping and I’ve noticed how it makes me passive when friendships are being formed. Basically I lurk near people I want to befriend until they take pity on me and make friends at me. Not creepy at all then. To be frank its a wonder I have any friends at all.
As I’ve recently learnt thanks to my homegirl Lizzie Bennett, it’s no use saying we’re not good at things if we will not take the time to practise them. So I’ve set myself the challenge of making the latter half of 2015 the year of friendship. Even me, awkward, overscheduled, and chronically out of practise can make one friend in a year? Surely…
After googling how to make friends (don’t judge me search engine) I’ve come up with following plan on action.
1. Cultivate the friendships you already have.
This makes utter sense. I know loads of awesome people who a) I used to be close with and have drifted apart from or b) I’m friends with but want to be closer to. So it makes sense to try and enrich those friendships. Especially as they are a somewhat captive audience to my freakish introvert charms. But I don’t know how to go about it? Without being awkwardly sidling up behind people and asking ‘will you be my friend?’
2. Take up a hobby
I’m not so sure about this one. Lots of my hobbies (lying on the sofa reading trash fiction, lying in bed reading trash fiction) only seem conducive to flying solo. Plus the vast majority of my closest friends differ so completely from me. One of my best friends loves everything Cath Kidston and wants to be Nigella Lawson. The other loves tattoos and comic books. Although I think the love of cats in a pretty strong glue I am not sure that’s why we are friends – I think it’s because their awesomeness transcends words and it has little to do with what they like but who they are.
3. Find a app
Why isn’t there a friend making app? Someone please help a girl out and invent one.
So plan of action developed I, in typical Rowan fashion, made a list of friends I want. I’m looking for:
A friend who likes to dance like an eejit to 90’s hits
Somebody who worships the ground Tamora Pierce walks on too.
Friend(s) who like playing board games but not in a competitive way
Dinner party friends (I will live out my come dine with me fantasies)!
Writer friends who I can talk about the fictional people in my head with and they don’t give me the side eye about
Infertility friends who will stop me cutting a bitch if I get told one more time to just relax. (Does relaxing fix my broken endocrine system, fool? Does it REALLY?) I have already arranged a meeting with some ladies I’ve been chatting with online. This is seriously exciting. Cross your fingers that they won’t all hate me.
Friends who are obsessed with charity shopping as me, and also this is important, a completely different size and shape to me so we don’t fall out.
A friend with whom I communicate exclusively in cat gifs. (I already have one of those to be fair but I want another. A girl can never have enough cat gifs)
Friends that like long Sunday walks in the countryside preferably with a dog. (We did have awesome friends that totally filled this niche but they went and moved to Australia and took their dog with them! Meanies. So we have a vacancy.)
A friend who lives with walking distance and over the years we become the kind of friends who just pop over to see each other
Friends who love brunch as much as I do and never miss our regular brunch date on the third Sunday of the month.
The nicest thing about compiling this list is it made me realize how many friends I already have. All I need to do is get out there and *shudder* talk to people.
Easy, right? Watch this space…