With Friends Like These…


I’ve never been the most popular person around. For my whole life, I’ve had to get used to being the person from an odd-numbered group who has to sit on their own on the bus, or the one people forget to invite to places. I’m the one who gets edged out when someone new and more interesting comes along. The one who’s only part of the group because they just won’t stop turning up places.

In the few years I’ve been living in Lancaster, there have been a few occasions where I’ve mistakenly assumed that this effect has worn off and that I have settled into a group. With the people at Archery, it became obvious very quickly when I was no longer welcome around, though the only thing I’d done was fallen in love with the president of the society and the captain’s best friend.

Possibly one of the most hostile and difficult situations I’ve ever been in; the overnight stay in Chester will remain vividly etched in my mind as one of the worst weekends of my life. When the aforementioned man and myself ended our relationship, there was no longer any question of me being able to shoot – my bow proved to quickly become a three hundred pound paperweight.

Luckily for me, not all of my forays into pre-established friendship groups proved so harmful to my mental health; my attendance at RocSoc was simply not high enough to become firmly established in that social group. I know the people, and they know me, but aside for a couple of exceptions we’re never going to be bosom-buddies. Less intimacy and attachment; less eventual pain.

The place I really did think I’d stick, however, was LURPS. Lancaster university role-playing society. Full of people who were teased in school and consider themselves to be socially ‘different from the norm’. Even I couldn’t be considered annoying or weird compared to some of these guys, right?

For a while, I was so enamoured by everyone in LURPS that I found it hard to settle into a particular group. Before too long though, I gathered a few people I was particularly interested and amused by, people I thought I could trust and enjoy the company of, and we became a group, a brigade even. A core group of six with some peripheral people, and I felt like I’d found my own version of the Friends cast, people who I’d continue to be friends with through my twenties and beyond.

Despite some hiccups, such as Dan leaving Lancaster (if you’re reading this, Dan, we miss you!), we’re still here three years on. Three years of trying and testing each other, laughing, crying, and loving together, and I thought that I’d finally be able to tick ‘lifetime friends’ off my list of things I need for a satisfactory life.

It seems though, that life thought I needed another false start, another lesson learned. To offset the balance of a social group is a very easy thing, especially when the group contains someone such as me, who is so easily displaced from their comfort zone. I fill a particular role in the group – I am the only girl, the main ear that gets confided in, the funny, cute girl who messes about and kicks butt in Team Fortress 2. I also take a lot of maintenance as a friend, something I know and am trying hard to work on. I am almost obsessively sociable; even when I’m feeling anti-social or ill I want there to be people around me, so I can listen to them talk and know that I’m not alone when I’m feeling at my worst.

For three years, I have been able to have all the support that I need from this group of friends, and from Sam more than most. He and I are ‘best’ friends, and despite several ups and downs between us, I thought that wasn’t going to change, at least not while we continue to house share.

Now though, there’s someone else. A girl I can’t even bring myself to have any hostile feelings towards; she and I have always been towards the ‘friends’ end of the acquaintance scale, and from what I can tell she is a lovely, interesting, funny, pretty, gamer girl.

For almost the whole time he’s known her, Sam has been interested in her, and I can’t blame him. Nothing ever came of it though, because she has had a boyfriend since before Sam ever met her. Nevertheless, his interest never waned; he just supressed it. Until recently. I don’t want to air out exactly what’s happening between them, so what it comes down to is that she has very quickly become a close friend to Sam.

I had no worry when Sam was pursuing her as a romantic interest; in fact I was all for it – Sam is a great guy and deserves to find a girl who’ll make him happy and put up with how stubborn he is. Now that it has emerged that they aren’t going to be entering into a romantic relationship, I am fighting a losing battle for the position of Sam’s best friend. Why would he want to keep me when he could have someone who is just a vastly improved version of me? The signs are already beginning to show; Sam and I have spent very little time together just hanging out recently. He’s been busy, or there have been other more interesting people around. Sam’s always had the time for her though.

Most of my group of friends already consider her to be a friend, too, so it’s only a matter of time before I’m left at the starting post without them all, because again, who’d keep me around when she’s a prettier, funnier, more interesting and intelligent version of me with less neuroses for them to worry about? From there, it’s only a short step before they stop inviting me along to the race at all.

 

PS. I know that you’re all entitled to freedom of speech and can say whatever you want about it, but before you post about how selfish and whinghy I sound in this post, please have a little bit of sympathy for the girl who’s missing her best friend and scared of being replaced by someone far superior.

 

PPS. The main body of this post (that is, not counting the two post-scripts) totals 1000 words exactly. Random round numbers like that give me a little bit of a thrill.

The Common Cold


You’d think that, after thousands of hours of lost productivity, many millions of pounds spent on lemsip and going to the doctor, and billions of trees worth of tissues used every year, there would be at least something you could do about the common cold.

I’ve recently come down with a belter of a cold. Headache, sore throat, horrible chesty cough, sneezing, aching body, this one really does have all the accessories and there is nothing I can do aside from alleviate the symptoms slightly.

However, even that can backfire. I woke up this morning and my sinuses had decided to take all the snot and phlegm that my poor little body could produce, and throw a party with loud bass and flashing lights. My only coherent thought was ‘must…get…co-codamol’. I’d bought it from the pharmacy not long ago, because I suffer with excruciating toothache, but the pain in my head let me know that ordinary paracetamol just wasn’t going to cut it.

Now, I don’t know how many of you have ever seen co-codamol tablets, but they are flat round discs about a centimeter in diameter. At the best of times I find them difficult to swallow and need to snap them in half to make it a bit easier, but when it feels like there’s scarcely enough space in my throat to drink some water, swallowing four half circles becomes significantly more daunting.

After struggling them down into my throat with water and forcing them down even further with weetabix kindly provided by Itxi, I did start to feel a bit better. My headache lifted quite quickly but my voice is still pretty much a no-show for the day. I can talk, I just don’t sound anything like myself.

It would all be slightly less annoying if I didn’t feel like I should be immune to colds this year. I get an annual flu jab because as an asthmatic I’m in an ‘at-risk’ group, and they always give me a misplaced sense of immunity to a great deal of illnesses that I remain just as susceptible to. There’s a case of the measles doing the rounds? No problems, my doctor rammed a needle into my arm and vaccinated me against the whole world! Oh no wait, that was just the flu jab…

So, if you find my posts somewhat lacking in structure over the next few days, cut me some slack because I am recovering from what must be one of the most prolific of pests, the cold.

Just as a final aside, I am aware of the actual biological reasons pertaining ro continual mutation that makes a cure or a vaccine for the common cold quite impossible with our current medical technology. I just like to bitch and moan.