Whether you like it or not, being a Dad invokes change in your life. It’s hard work, but it’s largely a positive experience and a huge, wonderful responsibility.
A lot of people tell you that there’s no way of planning all of this change. Nobody tells you about the actuality of the birth, the sleepless nights and in keeping with positivity, the love that you have for your children. Personally, I found that when the second came along, I was genuinely shocked how I could love another being as much as I loved my first.
That’s all nice and shit, but there’s also situations you never planned for. You meet other Dads.
You’ve probably gone through the majority of your life with a tight unit of friends, which have gradually been added to along the way through University or work. You may consider yourself to be a confident, social butterfly who has rid himself of the social anguish you once had as a teenager? All that changes when by default, you have to talk to other Dads.
Such situations typically arise when:
- Your partner befriends another Mother in a playgroup and you meet on weekends;
- Your child strikes up a relationship with another child in a park or soft play centre;
- Your child starts school and all the Mothers are huddled together at drop off/pick up (sounds like Argos) and you’re on the periphery with another ‘floating Dad’;
- You’re in a children’s birthday party and are cornered into small talk.
The above is all pretty tongue in cheek and I’ve actually met some pretty like minded people, but not without social anxiety. Which isn’t pleasant.
So if you’re a Dad who, like me, walks around with a grey cloud above your head while constantly wondering if these new humans like you or not, I’ve devised a checklist of things to avoid:
- Talking politics – asking your new peer about how they voted on Brexit could be a thorny issue. It’s a personal thing and we’re lucky enough to vote how we want.
- Mentioning MILFS or something ridiculously ‘laddy’ – the last thing you want to do is start introducing a laddy persona into the mix, especially if that’s not really you. It’s not becoming to anyone, silence is golden if you think you should go down that road.
- Pretending to share an interest – you’re new buddy talking about his love for classical cars does not warrant you discussing your vague knowledge of Ford XR2’s because you nearly bought one once in ’98. Tell the man “it’s not really my thing”.
- Asking invasive questions about earnings or how they can afford a bigger house than you when they work part time – it’s a difficult one, because you may wonder why he’s just got back from his third holiday this year when you haven’t been on one for two years. But let’s face it, he may drink less than you. He may eat better, may be as efficient as you would like to be on utilities. Either way, you won’t like the response. Steer clear.
- Talking about the ‘good old days’ – no one cares about how much disposable income you used to have, how many drugs you may have taken or the volume of alcohol you once consumed. We’re all in it together and no one thinks you’re a big man. You’re a mere pawn on a big Daddy chess table, trying to do what everyone else is doing – you’re absolute best.