I have now been in Prague for about six weeks. Except I was away for two of those weeks (three weekends) on holiday. Even so, in my mind this means that I have been here for AGES and should therefore have a fully functional support network of varied, interesting, quirky-yet-likeminded, supportive girlfriends who want to hang out with me. Except I don’t. Which is not surprising as after taking into account my fairly long and irritatingly unpredictable working hours, I have probably had less than 24 friend-making hours since I arrived.
I have, as it stands, one-and-a-half friends in Prague.
There is the lovely Anna*, who is the daughter of someone I know from the UK. I had met her once before coming to Prague and then got in touch when we moved over. She and her husband have lived here for about 4-5 years and so are well versed in all things Praha and also in the requirement to basically nab new friends anywhere possible. She is really lovely, and someone I would definitely be friends with even if I lived in a country where everyone spoke the same language as me and wasn’t wandering about lonely and looking for mates. Score.
The half-friend is Steph. I don’t know her well enough to call her a proper friend yet, but have arranged a friend date with her later this week to try and remedy that. I went (with husband) to her house party on Saturday. And it was so busy. She’s only been here seven months – how the hell did she manage to meet enough people to have a busy house party?! I have (job notwithstanding) clearly been too lax with meeting people and am therefore planning a “friends-offensive” (I don’t want to offend the one-and-a-half friends that I already have, but am actively seeking some more, if that’s not terribly rude).
There are certain obstacles to this:
1) I am typically English – I am not terribly proficient at forcing myself on people and find active friend-seeking about as cringeworthy at business networking… I think I’m just going to have to get over that and pretend that I am the sort of person who works in PR, and just being really painfully out-going. Pointers please?
2) Czech appears to be a pretty impenetrable language – ok, so far I’ve only had one lesson (the other two were cancelled due to work, grrrrr) but it’s definitely not the sort of language you can pick up by osmosis. This linguistic difficulty means that I really need to reduce my target friend group to about 20% of the population of Prague to include only the English, American, Australian and Canadians, and the (fairly numerous) Czechs who speak impeccable English.
3) I have friends. Tonnes of them. Really lovely ones that I’ve had for years, who know all about me and my family and my likes and dislikes, who helped me break-up and make-up with people and came to my wedding, and who know I like a glass of red and that I don’t smoke anymore but would really love it if they blew their smoke slightly in my direction. Real friends. Except they all live in sodding London, Paris, Edinburgh and everywhere except BLOODY PRAGUE.
4) I am married. To a lovely man who is far more out-going and joiny-inny than I am, but who is also a lovely reason to just head home after work rather than pestering work-mates, one of the one-and-a-half-friends or random strangers on the street to come for a glass of wine with me. And he also thinks that having “couple friends” (i.e. the people he plays rugby with and their WAGS, who, I hasten to add, are all very lovely) is the same as having “proper friends”. Which it is not. As per point 3 above, I have loads of friends and, in the main, I like their boyfriends/husbands/girlfriends. But I would not choose to hang out with their partners all the time. Just as they would not choose to hang out with my bloke all the time. And also, if i spend my entire social life with my man (who also works in the same office as me) I will go insane. I’m a “space” lover, and there’s nothing with the potential to make you more screamingly claustrophobic than only knowing your husband’s mates.
So, if you’ve found me (1) funny, (2) likeable or (3) completely irrational/irritating yet somehow endearing, then please do get in touch. If you don’t seem too mental or dangerous, I would love to go for a glass of red and/or some second-hand smoke.
*As I really do want to make new friends, and appreciate that some people might not really want to be blogged about, I have changed all names in my blog, so as not to piss people off too much.