Making New Friends: Here’s What I Have Learnt Today…

There are some songs that have lyrics you connect to like no other: “I Am The Walrus” by The Beatles to name but one. However, the tune that has got me thinking in particular is Soul II Soul‘s “Keep On Moving” and that is because, tomorrow, I am moving. Again. That’ll be the 7th time in less than ten years – that’s not including the bit in between moves where I’ve just sort of “stayed” places. I think it’s fair to say that wherever I lay my hat, that’s my home (ah, see, THAT should have been the song I referenced)!

I don’t wish to bore you with details so I shall be brief (the other option is, of course, to be entertaining with details but I’m not sure that is entirely possible when, essentially, all I’m doing is explaining geographical changes. Tell you what, you have a cheeky little read on and decide for yourself, how’s that? Why not have a biscuit too? Go on, you deserve it.). My most recent move pans out a little like this.

I lived in Nottingham in The Camp Little Cottage By The Canal. Nottingham wasn’t my home but I loved it like it was my home. My home is where my parents live in Beverley in the East Riding of Yorkshire. I also love Beverley. It is my home. I moved from Nottingham (like my home) back to Beverley (actually my home) in November for a month or so before I move down to Beaconsfield (my future “like home” home). I am writing a TV show with my friend and also working on other things with another friend. Both these friends live in the same house because they are married. To each other. They also have a son. I’m not working with him on anything at the moment (although we’ll probably do homework). These three people are like extended family and I am moving into their house so we can all work and play together. There ends the details bit. Thank you for sticking with it. Did you have a biscuit?

So, the big move. Unlike previous moves where I have moved because of my radio job and then have met friends (and, in some cases, loves) through the office environment and networking; this move shall be different. That is because, with this move, I don’t know anyone. Well, obviously I know my friends I’m moving in with; they’re largely friends because I know them. I mean I won’t be working in an office environment so won’t know anyone through work, as such. When I am writing with my friend (I’ll call her Suzanne because that’s her name), we sit opposite each other at our laptops, typing away at the kitchen table. It is rare that the cute girl from sales walks by, In fact when I say “rare” I actually mean “never”. That’s because there isn’t a sales department in the home. That would be odd. Likewise, when I am working with Jason (I’m calling him Jason because he was named that as a child), it has never been known that a work email has gone round suggesting post-work drinks. It would only be either himself or I who could send it. Usually I’d just ask him or vice versa. So… how do I make new friends in a new place?

Well, whenever I take my friends’ son to school and pick him up, there are Mums in the playground. I was thinking maybe the Mums and I could form some sort of daytime club. I saw a film years ago called Mr Mom with Michael Keaton (by which I mean he was in it; I didn’t watch it with him. I watched it with my sister. They don’t even look-alike) whereby he has to take the kids to school and in the daytime he forms a beer and poker club with the other Mums (or Moms if you’re in the U.S. or, weirdly, Birmingham). I could give that a go. I could… but there is one large flaw that comes with asking a group of women I’ve only just met in a school playground to come back to mine at 10am to play poker and drink beer; I don’t own any cards. We’ll scratch that plan.

My other option is to be the Social Network hanger-on. You, like I, have probably been in a social situation at one time or another where you’re with friends… and one other. One person who, when you’re trying to have a good chat, just chips in with comments to try to get in on the conversation. If you can’t think of that happening then, chances are, you’re that person. I’m only joking; you’re not really: you’re lovely, you are (although I am struggling to think of an occasion where it’s happened to me now so that means that person is probably me). In order to make friends in Beaconsfield (my future “like home” home) I was considering going on the town’s Facebook page and just chipping in with a comment when someone posts an update. Then I realised that’s not going to make me friends at all, is it? That’s just going to make me look like the local strange person who shouts random comments from a bench. Except I’ll not even be out the house because I’ll be doing it from the kitchen table. So that’s another idea scrapped.

My third idea – and please bear in mind I’ve only been thinking this through for a few hours – is to make friends whilst dog walking. Luckily the friends that I am living with have a dog. Unlike the poker/card situation, this is a massive boost to the plan actually going ahead. The village where my friends live… ah. Let me explain something here.

I fear I’ve led you a merry dance by referring to the town I am moving to when, in actual fact, I am moving to a village 2 and a bit miles away. I’m sorry about that it’s just, well, I don’t want people from the village reading this and then not befriending me because they don’t think I’m spontaneous enough. You understand, don’t you? You do? That’s what I love about you. That and your eyes. Thank you.

Ah, fresh air and ducks.

Where was I…? Ah, yes. Right… So the village where my friends live is beautiful and picturesque. It’s the sort of village that has a huge duck pond in the middle of the village green just by the church that you could well imagine having idyllic picnics on as you quaff lashings of home-made lemonade (actually, there’s idea #4). It’s a perfect dog walking village in actual fact and we all know that walking dogs is a perfect way to meet people. At least, we all know it if we believe 101 Dalmations is more of a true story than many believe it to be. Dog walking would be an ideal chance to meet people and make friends wouldn’t it? Or would it? Would it not just mean that I am with a dog that isn’t actually mine and talking only to people who own dogs about dogs when I don’t know anything about dogs or, as I have stated in this very sentence, even own a dog of my own. I would be sat at home at night reading up on dog things so I could have something to talk to them about. It wouldn’t just be about the pressure I’d be putting myself under; I would have to have drinks with people based on a lie. That’s no basis for friendship. Dog may be man’s best friend but they’re not the best basis for making new ones.

I have thought about joining a yoga or pilates class but then I’d just be friends with fitness people who probably wouldn’t want to eat as much cheese or drink as much mead as me. I could go to the pub and make friends there but then I’d probably have to remain constantly drunk so I was always in the same state as I was when my new friend saw me when they met me and, therefore, was the person they thought they were befriending. I think. I could dress as a giant marshmallow and stand outside the village shop; but that’s just silly.

So, one night before my move from Beverley (actually my home) to Beaconsfield (my future “like home” home) and I am none the wiser. However, I do know one thing: I have some amazing people in my life already but now I have a brilliant opportunity to have even more special people enter my life. Hopefully, I’ll get the chance to have a positive effect on theirs too. I’ll know people this time next year that I haven’t even met yet: we all will. How brilliantly exciting is that?

I have always felt so fortunate to know this and, thinking about the future, Here’s What I Have Learnt Today: I get by with a little help from my friends. Now, if only there was a song that had lyrics to that effect…