New Friends

Over the last few weeks I have been inexorably drawn back towards blogging, and in response something quite wonderful has happened.

In a life where most days are filled with the making of meals, washing up, tidying up, and hour upon hour of hilariously complex headache inducing software development, it’s easy to lose touch with real people. Normally I don’t notice, but every so often I’ll get a case of the lonelies.

If you see me online more than usual, I’m invariably doing one of two things; either hiding from the real world, or reaching out. I’m not quite sure if I was hiding, procrastinating, or reaching out this week – it doesn’t really matter. What does matter is that something unexpected happened. I made a new friend.

When we are children, friendships are easy. Sitting down next to somebody, walking alongside somebody, or being in a playpark at the same time as somebody automatically creates the bond.

As grownups, friendship is suddenly hard – and the only reason it became hard is us, and our crazy hangups. Our own insecurities about strangers, mad people, and murderers. When not chasing our own tail at work or at home, we often find ourselves “missing” the times when it seems the rest of our real-world friends are meeting up, going out, and generally doing all the things we wish we were doing too. Except we’re not.

Instead of taking “oh so funny” photos in some bar or other and sharing them across the social networks, you’re slumped on the couch at 1am after washing up, or ironing, or tending to a sick child. You pick up the laptop, and head towards your regular online haunts – hoping to find somebody – anybody – to interact with – to shoot the breeze with – to share the story of your day.

Hitting the internet in the middle of the night causes you to overlap timezones with people on the opposite side of the planet, and suddenly you are a curiosity to each other – heading off on an exploration of the imperceptible differences between each other’s lifestyle, outlook, views, opinions, and dreams .

Of course you eventually realise that it doesn’t matter where people are from, their gender, colour, age, or state of health. We are all “people”.

Perhaps that’s the secret to this whole game we called life. People.

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