I hate to sound like a cliché, but the older I get the more important friendships become. I don’t have a massive social circle, so I invest time into the few pals I have, partially because I know making new friends is such an exhausting task. These days I mainly use social media to keep in contact. But messaging online or even video calls can’t really capture the magic that comes from a proper face to face interaction. It’s just not the same thing – although I do like that social media doesn’t require getting out of your pyjamas.

Despite the extra effort real life interactions require, these meet ups are what I look forward to. Whether it’s catching up with friends at the pub or going for a coffee, it’s always worth the time it takes to make myself (semi) presentable.

For the record, I’ve come out with some nonsense in pubs over the years – carried with the exuberance that comes from a dram or two. I remember once getting my words muddled and asking: “What are you incinerating?” Clearly there was no burning of any variety taking place. But in a pub it’s usually far too loud to be heard and so such foolishness can vanish into the ether. In a coffee shop it’s a different matter.
I spend a lot of time typing in coffee shops, and I often can’t help but overhear what’s said. It’s a bit like passive smoking – but funnier. Much funnier. This bit of chat between ‘Helen’ and ‘Chloe’ – their names have been changed to hide their embarrassment – is a case in point:

Helen: It’s a good job, that’s all I can say.

Chloe is looking through her handbag, not paying attention.

Chloe: What is?
Helen: That you didn’t go!
Chloe: Go where?
Helen: To the party of course!
Chloe: Party? Oh the party! How was it?

Helen now has Chloe’s attention.

Helen: Well I had a good time… obviously.
Chloe: Obviously. You set a tone.
Helen: I do. But some people weren’t enjoying it at all.

Chloe stops drinking her coffee.

Chloe: Why, what happened?
Helen: It was that Megan.

They share a knowing look.

Chloe: You never liked her.
Helen: Yes. No. I mean, you know me, I take as I find. I don’t bear a grudge but, I speak my mind.
Chloe: You do. You tell it like it is.
Helen: More people should.
Chloe: They should.
Helen: Well, that girl Megan just won’t keep her opinions to herself.
Chloe: ‘Rude’, that’s what I call it.
Helen: Yeah, she is such a prima donna.
Chloe: ‘Pre’ Madonna?
Helen: Yeah.
Chloe: What? Like Cyndi Lauper?

Chris McGuire

Chris McGuire is a Devon-based writer. Chris loves 80’s music, but only wears legwarmers on special occasions.
Find him on twitter: @McGuireski

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