Remember the good old days when you were locked in a room with people your own age and forced to form emotional attachments to them?
Say what you want about the politics, bitchiness and mind games that find their way into the school yard (Canberra’s got nothing on the cretins who populate Grade Nine classrooms) it’s a fast and efficient way to snag some friends.
But as you get older your core friendship group starts to splinter. People head off to uni, move overseas or start producing tiny humans and before you know it you’re sitting alone at the movies with a decoy box of popcorn on the seat next to you, throwing fake where-is-my-friend looks towards the door to make it look like you’re not going to die alone.
As a society we spend countless hours (and dollars) seeking out a soulmate of the the romantic variety. But when it comes to finding soulmates of the just-wanna-be-friends type it’s considered somewhat unacceptable to sidle up to strangers and ask if they’d like to hang out with you in a way that won’t involve the exchange of bodily fluids.
Apps such as Tinder, Happn, HowAaboutWe and Tindog (the dating service for pet owners) along with websites such as RSVP, Plenty of Fish and Oasis are all geared towards finding you company of the adult variety. There are speed dating events, singles nights, singles cruisers and a dozen other socially acceptable pastimes here to help you navigate your romantic future.
But when’s the last time your local pub ran a ‘Let’s Just Be Friends and Drink Tasty Brews Together’ night’?
Saying you need to find someone who’ll share love, life and a Netflix password with you is seen as a normal and hopeful endeavour. You’re Kate Hudson, Anne Hathaway and every other ingenue who’s ever appeared on the silver screen seeking romance.
However, saying you’re currently wandering lost and alone through a friendless desert populated with solo wine drinking sessions and a dash of social neurosis is seen as somewhat less cute.
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I was first introduced to the harsh and uncertain world of friend dating when I graduated from university and said goodbye to the city I’d called home in order to move to a tiny Queensland town to begin my first job.
Until that point I’d been blessed with a close knit network of chums I freely admit I took for granted. They were just somehow always there, this group of women with whom I’d soldiered through adolescent with and who’s company I found as comforting as a mug of hot coffee on a cold morning.
And so I began the awkward process of friend dating.
Every time a friendly person who I believed had no intention of locking me up and selling my organs on the black market crossed my path I’d begin plotting ways to infiltrate their social circle.
When saying no to a friend destroys a friendship. (Post continues after audio.)
I spent more hours then I’m proud to admit starring at my phone, waiting for someone who I thought might have sent friendship vibes my way to make the first move.
If I did happen to score an invite to an event with potential buds the days leading up to it would be filled with angst over what I should wear, what I should say and the possibility that they might not want to take the relationship further.
I wish the process had been as easy as just choosing to swipe right.
When you begin a romantic relationship it’s expected that the person who’s making your heart all fluttery will call you, spend time with you one on one, introduce you to the other significant people in their life and just generally follow a pre-laid out series of steps that allow your relationship to progress.
Friend dating has no such helpful structure.
The sting of friendship rejection is also much harder to live through than it’s romantic counterpart.
Unless you’re involved in some sort of sister-wives situation, it’s generally accepted that you’ll only be romantically linked to one person at a time. So the idea that someone can’t be with you is a lot easier to swallow then knowing someone has the capacity to have you in their life but finds the idea of even grabbing a coffee with you too henuoius to consider.
So lets stop worrying about the loveless, because it’s the friendless, those poor souls out in the trenches each day, that really need our prayers.
Have you ever found the need to friend date?