TO PARAPHRASE DJ KHALED AND DRAKE – which my life necessitates pretty often, obviously – no new friends are needed here, thanks. My cohort Rolodex is full and I am no longer accepting CVs.
Yeah, I know. Who on earth do I think I am? Well, I’ll be honest, this rationale is borne less out of me being some kind of obnoxious egomaniac – sort of – and far more because I sometimes just want to feel a little bit smug and sensible; you know, for a nice change of pace. There’s only so many early nights you can have when your address book boasts the heady total of four-plus friends, you know. So it’s mainly this; my pathological fear of being tired, that has scuppered me somewhat over the years. Ironic, since being sleepy is arguably my most deﬁning characteristic.
In addition to this, I’ve also read a not-insigniﬁcant number of scaremongering articles in the press about the very real hazards of having too many friends. I Google it quite often. I like to keep updated. You may chortle now, but did you know that the 80/20 principle suggests that we gain approximately 80 per cent of the value of our friendships from roughly 20 per cent of our friends? Or that anthropologists have recently discovered that if you have too many close pals, it inhibits your capacity for further, deeper relationships? After all, Aristotle did say, “A friend to all is a friend to none.” Or, as I like to put it, repeatedly, “New number, who dis?” Works a charm, I promise.
I found myself in this humblebrag of a predicament about a year after ﬁrst moving to Dubai. Landing, knowing two-and-a-half people at best, I launched straight into a full-on friend-recruitment drive, canvassing for mates with the desperate air of Nigel Farage, but with a bit more of a tan.
My Facebook page still shows the promiscuous platonic aftermath. I’m still very much up to speed with the movements of Hassan from Emirates NBD and his three delightful children, as am I with Dave From Downstairs – newly engaged, congrats Dave – as well as the scarily hench female security guard in my old apartment building who, I’ll be frank, I befriended out of a curious blend of fear and thinking she may come in useful at some point.
So there you have it. My friendship quota? Full. If it could shoot out daily, judgemental push notiﬁcations lamenting a lack of iCloud storage, it would. It hasn’t been backed up in 89 weeks and that’s probably the way it’s going to stay. Or so I thought.
I’ve met a potential pal. I imagine you can feel my giddiness from here. Because, really, what’s better than the joyful, heart-warming serendipity of meeting someone who’s so cool that you feel the dire need to convince them that you, too, are cool, and that you should really be cool together. Regularly. Over brunch. And if that leads to shopping too then, well… so be it. The heart wants what it wants.
But for me, aside from now having to navigate the precarious waters of juggling a whole FIVE friends – I know, it’s unthinkable – what I think is most tricky is the actual wooing of said new chum to begin with. Post-uni, you’re kind of on your own with this. And before that, at school, you at least had the promise of sharing your good felt-tips with someone as a rudimentary form of friendship bribery.
Now? I’d argue the rules are actually more hazy than straightforward dating. At least then it’s deﬁnitive – someone’s taken, or they’re not. They fancy you, or they don’t. There are no chat-up lines for friendship, you just have to… be normal? As you can imagine, I am amazing at this.
Obviously, there’s always the chance you’ll be knocked back. There’s always some pompous idiot who thinks of friendship in terms of a chockablock Rolodex. But still, I think there’s a sweet kind of vulnerability in putting yourself out there and basically saying, “Hey! Your hair, man. I approve. And your pithy Instagram captions. Those make me LOL, like, IRL. And I saw you read that book I love. You seem like an awesome human. I really think we could be friends.”