There’s nothing quite like the isolation afforded to you by being unemployed, the only really permanent resident in a house and your major social interactions being glances at the holiday snaps and public announcements of people who it’s long since been unclear if you’re actually friends any more or just acquaintances you play online poker with.
I quit Facebook for about five months last year. Just now, I looked at a picture and it made me feel like crying. There was nothing particularly sad about the picture, but it just reminded me that I have more in common with the melodramatic, sex obsessed 15 year-old Norwegians of the movie I’d just watched than people in my actual peer group – though I’m not exactly sure who that might contain or how big it is these days. It’s thinking about things like that (among others) that made me quit FB in the first place.
Until recently, ever since I was a teenager I always had trouble being part of a core group of friends because I would have several I’d flit between. The advantage to this approach was that I’d always have a group to fall back on if I was ostracized from one, but the downside was that I never really felt that close to anyone in the first place.
This persisted right up until the end of university, where I would shirk my fellow undergrads to hang out with people relatively far removed (well, as far as they could be in a city as small as York) from that circle, but after the course drew to a close and most of my peers departed it became clear that I wasn’t part of any clique any more, and probably wouldn’t be unless I made a concerted effort to make some new friends.
I don’t really know why I got onto that. I think my point was something like: I’m not sure how to be friends with people any more. I can barely ask anyone if they want to go for a pint without feeling like I have to tack something vaguely productive to it so the other person doesn’t feel like I’m wasting their time, and the only time I’m in a big group with others these days is at scheduled events, birthdays and on no-budget film shoots, and even if there’s pizza and movies afterward it always just feels like an extension of work that needed doing, not something that friends do together when they hang out.
Thing is, I’m pretty sure that there are other people feel the exact same way, but I’ve got it so drilled into my own head that they’d rather see ten other friends before me that it justifies not making the effort to pick up the phone.
Okay, I think that’s enough. We don’t want this getting any more tedious than it already is or I might as well have put this on my Tumblr.