A year-and-a-half after returning to London full time after my BA in Essex, I am only now finding my feet socially and, for someone who has effectively lived in London all my life, this is a sad state of affairs. I hate to break it to you, readers, but London is a pretty hard place to make friends. Nobody seems to want to put themselves out there; people generally have a solid social circle with no room for newcomers.
Before I left for university it never occurred to me how difficult it would be for me on my return because I had sixth form and the various projects I was involved in to build and sustain my social circle. Now, however, old friends have drifted apart for various reasons, many university friends stay at university, and the rest?
Well those are my friends now. That’s not to say I am a Lonely Linda; I have two best friends, two close friends and a few acquaintances through hospitality work that I would love to develop. But why should it take a year-and-a-half to reach that point? In a city with so many people, where everyone is happy to chatter on their phones and share their lives via social media, why does nobody want to put themselves out there and make a friend?
I’m pretty sure that if all of us made the effort to smile on public transport at someone who’s wearing our favourite band t-shirt or reading a book we have just finished and loved, our commute would be more interesting and fun for it.
I was actually shocked the other day by a well dressed gentleman taking an interest in my desire to be a journalist, and we ended up spending 10 minutes talking about The Skin I Live In and Jim Carrey’s performance in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.
I shouldn’t have to be surprised at someone’s friendliness and ease of conversation; in fact that should be the norm in life, right? London, it’s OK to compliment someone on the tube if you like their shoes; it will put a smile on their face. And if you make a random friend at work, take it outside the workplace and build a new friendship; it won’t kill you.
Image by CarbonNYC courtesy of Flickr