Has anyone ever done a cost-benefit analysis of people. More specifically friends.

I really like the idea of having lots of friends, but shit. People are hard work. You have to speak to them on the phone and text them and spend time with them. In the very likely event you don’t have the exact same interest as them you end up having to do stuff you hate with them because “friendship”.

I don’t think I’m cut out for that kind of effort on a large scale.

Some social scientist somewhere must have done work on this, What is the optimal number of friends? or Are friends more trouble than they’re worth? (Two very strong titles there, feel free to use them.)

Oh and I now have a “professional website” so I don’t have to bother trying to make you guys think this blog is anything more than a chalice for my drivel. I’ll probably go back and rewrite some old posts too, so stay tuned for that.

In the past fortnight two major social events have occurred.

The 13th and 14th of October involved in excess of 16 hours of socialising. I hear your cries of “Thats only an average of 8 hours per day”. But… on the Friday, there were 8 other socialisers and on the Saturday I would make a conservative estimate of 20 socialisers.

224 person hours right there!

As is the social expectation I politely introduced myself. In general my half of the conversation flowed as follows:


“Hey, I’m Andy”

“Nice to meet you. Yeah I’m 26. What do you do?”

“Oh you’re a student, cool. Yeah, no, I, erm, effectively I ride a bike for minimum wage”

“Odd question so early. Yes I do have siblings. An older brother and a younger sister”

“He holidays a lot, and my sister, well. She’s a doctor”

“Yeah, I do earn minimum wage as a Deliveroo rider”

“No no, I went to university…”


If the all of the initial friendship stages are this crippling to the ego, I’m right to go no further.

Then earlier this week I had a cull on social media, because I don’t need to be validated by now many people I’m virtually friends with. In hindsight these actions have probably significantly reduced the readership of my blog. (I jest, I doubt those could even read!) My various newsfeeds are quieter, but thats okay. You guys should feel a warm fuzzy pride in your stomachs knowing you survived the cut.

As I write this I have 223 Facebook friends, 134 Twitter followers, 132 Instagram followers, and 46 contacts in my phone (three of those are taxi numbers and Im pretty sure at least nice of the others are not current numbers). I know what you’re thinking, those are some impressive figures. You’re right! But if I was to cultivate some new friendships, perhaps in the hope of finding a romantic partner how would I even go about doing that.

As always wikiHow has some suggestions:

  • Join an organisation or club – “A house of worship is a great place to start”, well I’m an atheist. Maybe I’ll look out for Cardiff branch of the Murdoch Mysteries Fan club though.
  • Make eye contact and smile – “Do not squint, look bored, frown, or appear blankly deadpan, or hang out in a corner; such habits may make you look troubled or disinterested”, but I am troubled and generally disinterested.
  • Start a conversation – “At least it’s not raining like last week!”, great, where the fuck do you go from there?
  • Make small talk – “Keep the 30% talking/70% listening ratio in mind”, what if you’re both keeping the ratio in mind.  The conversation will tend to zero and you’re going to end up damn close to an asymptote.

Maybe work is the way to make friends without becoming despondent. I barely have a job so let’s just skip over this. Anyway, in the immortal words of a former friend colleague.

 

I come to work to make money, not friends.

All together I’m mildly content with my antisocial differently-social ways. For years they kept me from smoking. Who in the right mind would take up an activity where in general all the other people doing this activity will ask you for things and talk to you. Now the tide has turned and smokers are becoming ostracised, Im beginning to think, “I’m just going for a cigarette” could be the perfect social Get Out Of Jail Free card.

For the time being my various acquaintances and three top level friends (the girl, the ginger, and the guy) will do. After all three is the magic number.

Until next time, if you’re a social scientist and you’d like to do a PHD in which you “strand” me in the wilderness away from society and study me, OR if you’d like to fund me to do a PHD in which I “strand” me in the wilderness away from society and study me, let me know. Otherwise, hire me?