I’ve got work tonight so I spent half of the day sleeping, but the rest of the time has been spent avoiding real life responsibilities by taking on a video game characters responsibilities… or not as the case may be. Because you see while I was playing The Witcher 3, I was supposed to be chasing down and rescuing the guys daughter (or whatever she is to him). But what Geralt actually did with me in charge was wander around the villages, stomp up to strangers and say ‘Heard you play Gwent. Let’s play.’
I’m now a master gwent player (if I set the difficulty to easy) but haven’t gotten particularly far in the search for my daughter. And while the notion of this guy ignoring his fatherly duties to play card games is both concerning and entertaining what I noticed more was his complete lack of social skills. It really helped me relate to my character…
Making friends is no small task when you are an adult. There’s a lot to think about when selecting a friend and then there’s the matter of how to befriend them. When you are four you just look for someone who isn’t boring and shares their toys. It’s pretty simple stuff and you know they must like you back because they are four and would tell you if they thought you were a doo doo head.
When you’re eight, things aren’t much more difficult. Be nice and no one is going to have a real problem with you, unless you’re the smelly kid or the kid with head lice. Things start getting a bit more complicated once you’re a teenager though (and it’s pretty much downhill from there). Now there are social groups, the playground no longer splits into boys playing football and girls… practicing their choreographed dance or … what the hell else did girls do at break time?
If you’re lucky, the friends you made earlier will stick around and turn out to be the popular kids in these newly founded social groups. But if for whatever reason at this point you decide to make some new friends or just some friends, you’re facing a difficult self reflective question. Who am I? Am I one of the popular kids, the sporty kids, the brainy kids, the smelly kids, the not so bright kids or am I one of those people that just sort of floats? The floaters are tricky, they aren’t quite popular but they are by no means social rejects. Whatever you decide, you find you social group and you somehow become one of them. They become your friends, the kids you invite to your birthday party.
But now I’m a grown up, now I don’t go to school any more. Now I need to know how to actually meet new people and make friends. School did not prepare me for this. Things like how to strike up a conversation have never been things that come naturally to me, in fact awkward silences don’t bother me overly. But also now I’m an adult there’s more to consider when making a friend. No longer am I just looking for someone who shares there toys and isn’t a social gas grenade (sometimes literally). Now I look for interests in common, similar sense of humour, etc. So I’ve whittled down the crowd, unlike Geralt I’m not going to just approach anybody to ask them to play gwent. I have to carefully select an unwitting victim.
Then there’s the problem of depression and anxiety. Those two again. They are a real pain in the arse. Every time I find someone I think I could consider a friend they sit there on my shoulders whispering not so sweet nothings in my ears. The self doubt creeps in and before you know it I’m pulling away from my new friend because I’m pretty sure they don’t even like me, just happened to take pity on me once.
I haven’t come up with a permanent solution to the friend conundrum, but as a temporary measure I’ve managed to get a hold of a couple of tiny gags for my shoulder ornaments.