(blogging, of course, being an exception)
Based on what I do on a regular basis, I’d have to say that my ‘hobbies’ consist largely of playing old PS3 games, watching Stephen Georg’s Let’s Plays, playing Cycling and Football Manager, reading Stephen King novels, ignoring my university reading list, and procrastinating instead of arranging a trip to the theatre for some potential English classmates of mine. And that’s not really a lot of things, or a particularly wide range of them.
I realised this when talking to a friend yesterday, that they would raise a topic of discussion – parties, films, TV series – and all I could say was ‘I’m not really into that’, or try to talk about the one TV show I’ve actually seen in its entirety, Battlestar Galactica. And this makes conversations hard.
But I’m not actively aware that I do a narrow range of things; if ever I\m deciding what to do, I don’t think ‘Well, I can only choose from these three PS3 games to play’, it simply never crosses my mind to do anything radically different – I’m content with my activities, and see no real reason to change them.
Is the problem, therefore, that I want to interact with people as an end, and see my hobbies and interests as a means to that end; perhaps I’m only playing story-driven games (Assassins’ Creed, Mass Effect, The Last Of Us) because there is a lot to discuss about them, like there is for a complex TV show. If I wasn’t so driven to respond to things, rather than just experience them, wouldn’t I play games like FIFA and Call Of Duty, where there are fewer topics for discussion and the games are more action-oriented.
If this is the case, however, I’m not doing a very good job with it; I don’t talk to any of my friends about the games I play, and only one guy outside of my family has seen Battlestar; I’d like to think that I view my hobbies as more than a means to an end, rather than them being a means that I’m unable to find an end for.
This raises the problem that if I do what I want, there’s no guarantee that other people will be interested in discussing it; I know the Internet makes communication worryingly easy these days, and I could find a Last Of Us forum within about five seconds of typing those terms into Google, but I don’t think I want to converse with these things with random people on the Internet (no offence, random, well-meaning people online). If I do, I’ll start a relationship with someone based on that game or TV show, rather than on our chemistry as people; I could easily talk for two days about Battlestar with someone online, but they could turn out to be a prick with no other shared interests, and so our relationship will die pretty quickly.
I want to approach new relationships the other way around, by engaging with other people as people, and talking about our favourite bands later, once we’ve passed each other’s ‘Are You A Snobbish Prick?’ test. And, importantly, my interests can change once these relationships have been established: I didn’t make a friend by bonding over our love of TV shows, but by the fact that we like each other as people, and a few years down the line I’ve told them about Battlestar, and they’ve told me about Game of Thrones.
And I intend to do that for university; I want to meet people over the summer to hang out and know them as people, before I know them as collections of opinions about aspects of culture. And we may have little to talk about once we’ve become comfortable around each other, but I’d take a good friend with no shared interests over an arsehole with a particularly convincing theory as to the true nature of Starbuck in season four of Battlestar.
Bring on university, and the film recommendations that will come with it!