You might have heard but recently I moved house. Not only did I move house I moved from the town I have lived for almost thirty one years - my whole life. This was without a doubt the most difficult thing I have ever done but I'm slowly settling in and getting used to life not in sunny Essex. Now I have another problem, one that I've not had for many years. I know very few people in Bedford, where I now live. How do I go about making more friends?
When I look back at all the friends I've been lucky enough to make back at home and think about how I met them you can categorise them in two list - school and work. Now don't get me wrong I absolutely love my old work friends and many of them will be friends for life but one problem with hanging out with people from work outside of work is that you often find yourself talking about work. That's too much work. The best thing about my job is that once I clock out I don't have to think about work anymore. This leaves me with much more time to think about more important things such as punk rock and what else could go well with my chilli sauce that Emma's parents bought me for Christmas.
It also leaves me with time to think about how to make new friends in a new town. My first thought was the Internet. That's how I met Emma and that has worked out extremely well! Obviously you want to meet people with similar interests to you. I met Emma through a website called Taste Buds that links you up with people who share the same likes as you on Facebook. This seemed like a good idea until Emma pointed out that it might look like I'm looking for a date rather than a friend so probably also a bad idea. The Internet does seem like the best idea though. If you're reading this, you will know that my biggest interest is punk rock. So it would be great to meet some like minded people in Bedford. One idea I had is to create some kind group on the Facebook named "Punks In Bedford" to try and find people. It certainly seems likes a great place to start but could take a little while to get going. I will definitely give it a go though. Who knows there might be a vibrant punk scene in Bedford that Emma is yet to discover. If not maybe we could start something. Maybe I could start putting on shows and start our own Bedford scene? That would be cool.
Of course I could go the old fashioned way of meeting people. In the real world! Who remembers that? From what I understand lots of people make friends at pubs and bars. That has always been something quite difficult for me. Starting up conversations with strangers is a tricky thing for me as I'm sure it is for a lot of people. In the pub/bar scenario it's probably easier for people as we all know alcohol is great for letting people drop their inhibitions. Bit of a road block here for me though as I'm t-total. I don't drink alcohol at all - never have and probably never will. If I do manage to start up a conversation with anyone it more often than not will lead to drink and then I get the awkward conversation about not drinking. It usually goes like this:
"Would you like a drink?"
"Just a coke please"
"Are you driving?"
"No, I'm t-total"
Sometimes the conversation turns to other things but from their I often get quizzed about why I don't drink and it all gets a bit awkward and uncomfortable for me and it's just not fun. It instantly makes starting a friendship difficult as we've already got off to an awkward start.
I really think that my best chance of making new friends that aren't people I work with is by finding or at least starting a Bedford punk rock scene. From what I've learnt over the past six years of going to gigs punks are among the friendliest, smartest and most non-judgemental people around and they have a great taste in music.
If you happen to live in Bedford (or Milton Keynes) and you're reading this then please join this group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1847717032136440/