Step 1: We can have lots of fun. Step 2: There’s so much we can do. Step 3: It’s just you and me. Yeah, but it’s not. There’s lots of friends you see and I’m the new kid on the block, well the new girlfriend on the block and usually I’d be fine with this – but the last time I had to seriously enter into a group of friends as a new girlfriend I was 23, winding down off raving, the drum and bass scene and making new best friends forever every Saturday night in the nightclub line. A little different to a well established group of friends I’ve been suddenly inserted into and in reality have replaced someone else (the ex).
So I feel a bit like an animal at the zoo – everyone staring, lots of eyes on me, I’m sure they’d take a photo with their iPhone if they could. It’s terrifying and emotionally tiring and I feel more like a piece of meat being tenderised than an endangered, obscure bird like a Kakapo (that’s an ugly parrot for those of you who don’t know).
I know, I know, brighten up Lorenza and where’s all that confidence gone? These people should like you no matter what. Well I’m hoping for that too. But it’s hard having to be “on” all the time, being fun!, having a good hair day with not-my-house’s-shower head, makeup sliding off from the travel version moisturiser that fit into my Sydney overnight bag, sounding hilarious and like you’ve got the smarts and still trying to be the best version of yourself in front of your new boyfriend and all these inquisitive will-she-fit-in-with-us friends.
Now don’t be silly, I can handle plenty of friends at the same time at a loud bar no worries! Nod your head and laugh even if you can’t hear what they’re saying. Do the sprinkler and smile as that’s crossing off four requirements at once. But I’m talking dinner, when there’s just you and them and lots of conversation space to fill with no nightclub toilet to run to, apply makeup and hide.
It’s a little bit like an interview; Elbows off table? Am I drinking too much wine? (Hang on that doesn’t happen in my interviews.) Am I asking the right questions? Am I talking about myself too much? They want to get to know me though right? Eeep shouldn’t have used that Sex And The City reference? Should I not touch my boyfriend? Are they comparing me to his ex? Do they still talk to the ex? Oh crap these ones are besties with the ex and what is their one-line definition they’ll be broadcasting back to the HR department and rest of the friends about me before my hangover’s gone in the morning? (It’s better to not to think about it.)
As we all know if your friends don’t like your partner well life can be a bit hellish – or they’ll make it hellish OR they’ll just pretend they like them till you break up then tell you how much they didn’t really like them. Making you feel like an even crapper person on top of your break-up. Thanks friends. Don’t worry you can always get them back by getting back with the ex and watching the awkwardness with some popcorn a few weeks later.
For all these close knit friends I’m sure it’s just as awkward for them too – they suddenly have to get used to someone new in their group and we know by age 30+ that’s not happening very often. You’ve got your lovely group of friends you do everything with and you’re not used to or liking all this disruption and small talk with the face of a new friend to the group. Don’t dare any of you (who haven’t lived in a new city the last three years) argue with me on this. When was the last time you made a new friend hmm? I’m not sorry to say this – Melbourne and Sydney – you know you’re a cliquey little bunch.
So the only other real-life equivalent I can think of for this is a new job. We all know how much it sucks when you’re the new kid at work – everyone’s all smiles and Stanley staples while we’re having no idea who’s the office sleaze or psycho and you’ve to grin and bull-nose-clip-bear-it till you’ve been there long enough to figure it all out.
So I guess there’s only solution really. Time. Step 5: Don’t you know that the time has arrived. UH! Only time will make them used to the New Kid (Girlfriend) On The Block.