Put me in a room with a room filled with Facebook, Twitter, hashtagging twenty-year-olds and I'd feel fairly at ease. I wouldn't be out of my depth referencing retro Britney Spears or chatting about the newest Girls episode. It's like Hannah is my life right now. Making friends used to be so easy: drink, dance and Facebook. First impression jitters were eased with tequila shots, shared cigarettes and being surprised by how many mutual online friends you had. If you wanted to keep in touch with someone you'd just ask if they were on Facebook or friend them on Instagram, then proceed to like all their status, comment on profile pictures 'new haircut? SO cute!' and send them funny cat videos. University made me certain that I could make friends with anyone I met, even if I'd only spoken to them for a few minutes.
Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on how cute he's being) I had my son during my second year of university and while he may have saved my liver from another two years of cocktails served in pitchers, I was immediately ostracised from my old social life and the majority of my 'friends' disappeared. I was pretty busy graduating from university and dealing with the challenges of life with a new baby, so hanging out in pubs definitely wasn't on the cards.
Now I've graduated and am firmly in post-university land, (once you're student oyster card has expired, you're officially an adult) I was expecting to be welcomed into a new tribe of sophisticated yummy mummies who drank red wine all afternoon and secretly wanted to see Fifty Shades of Grey... does anyone actually care if it's good? This is far from the reality of being a mother in London or at least the London I'm living in: maneuvering buggies up and down the tube escalators to the annoyance of ALL transport users, even the ones that don't know the left hand side is for walkers and being told by every barista in Soho that they don't have highchairs. Why not just say you hate children?
My first immersion into the cutthroat world of the London mummy scene was a few hours at a playgroup in Borough. It played out like the cafeteria scene in Mean Girls, the cool Asian mums with their super, bright six-month olds who already know the square brick goes in the square hole, the "I'm on a conference call" mums who have their nannies hovering nearby with bottles of milk and extra burp bibs and the rich hippie mums who ride their kids to playgroup in trailers wearing Burberry jeans and New Balance trainers. I was overwhelmed, out-classed and terrified.
A year later I still don't know anyone's name and the only people who do talk to me are the unorganised dads with Cheerios stuck to their polo shirts and sick on their loafers. I have entered social Siberia. Mums and Dads don't Facebook they LinkedIn, they also seem to have jobs which require them to wear suits or yoga pants, nothing in between (on their days off, Burberry jeans). I smile and nod, even waved the one time someone spoke to me but it turned out they were talking to someone behind me, classic 1990s sitcom moment, without the laugh track.
I have two friends who I've kept through university but they both have their own non-parent mates to hang out with and go to clubs with until 3am. I told my partner the other night, that we both had to make more of an effort to make friends this year and he asked me how.
My answer? I had no idea. I mean, how do you make friends without Facebook?