Bleats

Making Friends As An Adult Is A Goddamn Ordeal

Frankly, it's easier just to embrace a future as a ranting curmudgeon.

When I was a younger, thinner, less beardy man making friends just sort of… happened.

I played in bands, and when I wasn’t playing in bands I was watching bands or writing about bands, and thus would keep running into the same interesting-looking people in the local scene. Eventually one of us would buy the other a drink and thus would a lifelong bond be forged.

I moved back to my old hometown about a year ago after more than a decade away. And I did so with a family in tow, a job I did mainly remotely, and a new bub on the way. And thus it wasn’t until relatively recently that my wife and I realised that oh, we don’t really have a crew anymore.

All of which made us wonder: how the hell do adults make friends?

Naturally I turned to the internets for answers and the good news is that there is no shortage of advice.

Meet parents of your kids’ friends! Join a sports club! Hang with workmates! Join a community group! Church! Rotary! Dating apps (although my unattached GOAT colleagues would like to make clear that they do not appreciate people clogging their matches and I feel honourbound to respect their views)!

Find things on meetup.com! Take improv classes! Book clubs! Volunteering! Get a dog! Online groups! Say, have I heard of The Facebook?

And these are all great suggestions, absolutely. But when you’re a parent whose social time is unpredictable and limited, and who also can’t let Sweet Lady Booze be the wind beneath their otherwise flimsy social wings, all those options for making new friends just sound like a goddamn ordeal.

To be fair, when you have small, adorable children then everything is already exhausting and complicated. Going to the supermarket. Putting washing out. Trying to leave the house for a dental appointment. Sleep. Everything. Joining a book club? That sounds like a fantasy when having seven uninterrupted minutes on the toilet falls into the “distinctly aspirational” category at this point.

And look, I have zero regrets about the move and the parenting. Sure, having pals around would be nice – but feels ambitious, at least right now.

But in another 15-20 years, I’m sure I’ll be able to find a window. Hit me up then.

Look, We Need To Talk About These Play-The-Album Tours

A great album is rarely a killer live set.

So the other night I saw the Cure – a band I loved desperately as a sullen, depressed teenager – play Disintegration, their most depressing and sullen album.

And look, it was great. Robert Smith’s voice is ridiculously good, the band were on fire, and I still knew every word that burned my teenage ears despite my now being a grown adult who has had sex.

Here’s the thing, though: as sets go, it wasn’t amazing. And that’s because Disintegration gets pretty turgid in the late going.

ARGFH!!

And that’s one of the big problems with the increasingly popular play-album-start-to-finish concerts: the dynamics of a great album and a great setlist are fundamentally at odds.

Part of the reasons is that precious few albums have nothing but bangers, since an all-banger album is kind of exhausting and artists tend to like some light and shade in there.

But more importantly albums tend to front load the hits, the exact songs which setlists save for the end. You know, to leave the audience on a high, rather than relieved that it’s finally over.

I have seen far, far too many of these sorts of gigs by artists of, shall we say, A Certain Demographic, and there have been some inventive ways to work around the dynamic question.

For example: They Might Be Giants played their Flood album in reverse order, thereby saving The Hits like ‘Istanbul (Not Constantinople)’ and ‘Birdhouse In Your Soul’ for the big finish.

And that wouldn’t have been a terrible idea with Disintegration since all the singles – ‘Pictures Of You’, ‘Lullaby’, ‘Lovesong’, ‘Fascination Street’ – are in the first half of the album.

Side two is a series of dirges which are perfect when you’re 17 and going through your first proper breakup, but not exactly a crowd-pleasing series of killer jams.

Good for staring off into the middle distance to, though.

There’s a reason why the Pixies followed their Doolittle set with a bunch of hits, and the Jesus & Mary Chain played Psychocandy plus All The Songs People Would Rather Hear.

And sure, maybe the audiences for these shows would rather hear a bunch of familiar songs in a predictable order while sitting in a comfy Opera House before getting back to the babysitter, but… look, would a couple of hits really kill you?

How To Deal When Your Political Side Loses And No It's Not Attacking People On The Socials

Hot tip: oh god, stay off Twitter.

So let’s just say that there’s been a large scale national vote of some kind, and the result is not what you expected or wanted. And you’re feeling sad and angry and terrified.

Here’s a really bad thing to do: go onto social media and, say, blame Queensland. Or old people. Or the less educated. Or respond to people smugly telling you that it’s your fault for living in a lefty bubble and that if you don’t like it you should move to New Zealand.

But what do you do instead? Glad you asked! Here’s some tips:

1. Do not go on Twitter.

2. Feel your feelings. Just feel the hell out of them. Look, they’re going to demand to be felt anyway so you may as well stop trying to outrun them.

3. Go for a walk. Somewhere nice in nature. Breathe in and get some of that ozone in your lungs. Maybe this time be a little mindful of avoiding walks near enticing cliffs and deep-water pools. Somewhere flat and landlocked, ideally.

4. Do not go on Twitter.

5. Friends are good. Express your feels to your similarly suffering buds. Then once those feels are expressed, be a bit quiet about them because your friends are not your mum and don’t have to put up with your complaints beyond a certain threshold. Speaking of which, Mum doesn’t want to hear you sob about how the terrible the future looks for the ABC either.

And speaking of friends…

6. Change your default privacy setting on Facebook to Friends Only. And also log out of there. There is nothing that will make you feel better. Honest to god, there is nothing there. NOTHING.

7. Also, do not go on Twitter.

8. Do not post on Instagram, and if you do have to spend time there do not look at anything that isn’t a picture of a cat. If that cat looks even slightly political, log out.

9. What do you have more of, time or money? Put some of it to something that will make a difference in whatever small way – donate to the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre or join a political party or sign onto volunteering with the Climate Council or something similar. The macro stuff is out of your hands for the time being, so focus down on the achievable.

10. Oh hell, seriously, do NOT go on Twitter.

11. Be patient. In a few weeks time clear eyes and cool heads will look at what happened and have some answers which are not going to appear now, when everyone is either devastated and lashing out or provocatively smug and lashing out. You can make plans and action then.

12. Focus on something else for a bit. Say, that Game of Thrones show sounds popular, maybe you should watch tha… oh, really? What happened? Ah. OK, bad example.

13. Be nice to yourself. You’ve taken a beating. You’re going to need to heal for a bit. Or hell, take the rest of the week!

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