Since moving to Nowhere, I’ve had one successful cup of tea with a friend of a friend but I’m hesitating to appear too keen for fear of scaring her off. I feel like I’m dating and desperately trying to play it cool while all the time secretly gagging for it. And we all know how that ends.
Most of my decades-long friendships have been brutally reduced to the occasional text message and a handful of Instagram likes. Making new friends now is no easier now than it was at school – harder, in fact, since at least then, they were forced to endure my company day in, day out, until I’d worn down their guard sufficiently. The same applied when I graduated to working in an office.
Now, even if I do meet potentially like-minded people (I can’t believe I’m using that phrase – that alone goes to show how dire the situation has become), it’s usually fleeting and awkward. Plus, I’m terrible with names, which makes it hard to appear genuinely pleased to see someone again the next time, let alone ask for their number – how can you phone someone whose name you don’t know? “Hello, YOU!”? It’s just creepy.
I need to re-learn the rules from a kind of standing start. Is it too forward to ask someone you’ve literally just met for their number? And, if you manage to wrestle their number from them, can you actually call them? And what if they prevaricate, do you give up on them… or do you persevere until you’ve worn down their guard, too? I never used to be this neurotic.