Written by Ben Munster: Student Pages Journalist
“A good friend is like a four-leaf clover; hard to find and lucky to have.”
A wonderful quote, no doubt, but most people aren’t aware of the second stanza, which suggests that like a four leaf clover, a good friend will ultimately prove to be two three-leaf clovers stuck together, will grant you no good fortune, and will end up mangled and twisted at the bottom of one of your many deep anorak pockets.
In short, friendship is harder than simply scanning public parks for quadruple-pronged flora and requires diligence, patience and discretion. As someone who’s spent many years attempting to make a friend, and has acquired great wisdom through repeated failure, I’ve compiled a list of ‘DONTs’ to give you a leg up in your own pursuits.
1: When addressing potential new acquaintances, DON’T make full, unblinking eye-contact for the several hours you talk at them, lest they quickly realise that you’re an inhuman, bloodless lizard from the depths of outer space.
2: DON’T regale your would-be friends with dreary humdrum tales of your bourgeois existence. Once, for instance, I spent three hours detailing the subtle differences in surface leather distribution between a moccasin and a penny loafer to a colleague. In hindsight, I realise that when the potential chum called me a ‘freak’ and escaped through the ventilation shaft, it was not out of reverence and admiration but out of fear and disgust. Learn from my mistakes, friends.
3: DON’T be a robot – as an aspiring Junior Councillor, I used to respond to every query, from “nice day isn’t it?” to “are you coming to my mother’s wake?” by saying that I was enthusiastic, hard-working and a great team-player, and would re-emphasize this until the other person relented, became my friend or died. This, ultimately, did not intimately acquaint me with a great new many people, besides the occasional bureaucrat.
4: DON’T let all of your friends down and crush their dreams, before amplifying your presence in their life., never letting them live a moment without finding you reclining on their sofas, bursting out from drain covers and floating lifelessly in their bathtubs, having them see only your deranged, pallid scowl whenever they look in the mirror and appearing in their nightmares. This didn’t look good in court.
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