‘I don’t know anyone in a successful relationship who met post-uni,’ My friend announced. ‘What about Chelsea Handler and Andre Balazs?’ I replied. (I’ve been watching endless reruns of Chelsea’s late-night chat show. I highly recommend it, she’s a hoot).
‘Um,’ My friend replied. ‘I meant in our friendship group.’ Putting aside my deeply-held belief that, seeing as I spend so much quality time with her, Chelsea Handler pretty much is in my friendship group, I tried to think about people i know in real life. Usually, I would fact-check this with my therapist, but I recently had a dream where she left me stranded with a baby, so I’m still pretty cross with her thoughtlessness about that.
I quickly realised that I probably do not listen quite as well as I could, when it occurred to me that I had very little idea when most of my friends met their boyfriends. Or, in some cases, who their boyfriends were. (That, I would like to add, is not entirely my fault. There’s a pretty quick turnover in some cases). However, as a caring and diligent friend*, I resolved to change this. Here are some helpful tips on how to make your stories less boring:
1. People have a lot going on- toilet trips, eating, staying awake, breathing etc, so remember that your anecdotes are competing with all those things, and keep them brief.
2. I personally am a huge fan of props.
3. An excellently sneaky way of getting people to listen is to substitute your actual name with the names of celebrities: So there Eddie Redmayne was, wondering why his flatmate had failed to replace the loo roll- I mean, Ryan Gosling had just left the empty roll on the holder! Who does that?
4. Some people believe that conversations follow some kind of order- that one person says something, the other responds, and so on. If you adhere to this you will simply never get to tell your great story about the time you got TWO dairy milks from the vending machine. Simply shout out.
5. If all else fails, become the type of person who listens appreciatively to other people’s stories- this has the added benefit of turning you into what I have heard described as ‘the ideal girlfriend’.**
**Under no circumstances should you do this. Continue to tell outrageously inappropriate stories, interrupt hugely and generally exist as a fully-formed sentient being.**