Before getting back to work and start studying the benefits of long lasting social bonds in chimpanzees, I want to understand my own behaviour in a social environment. Arriving in a new place, I always find it difficult to choose bonding partners and weigh up costs and benefits of investing in new social contacts. I can engage in small talk, but it bores me to death so I usually stay quiet and observe members of the group for a while. Then pick out my grooming partner later. I am getting good at it as last time someone only noticed me after 2 days being in the same group work.
Female-friends require more investment than males; evaluating how big the competition is they will accept you or not. Fortunately I am already in my 30’s and don’t have the body of a sun tanned model (working on that is a continuous process) so in women’s eyes less likely to run off with their mates. However, bonding with males is much easier. I get along very well with men who are a bit older, slightly taller, know what they want in life and are more up on the hierarchy level. It creates a ‘Me Tarzan, you Jane’ situation, which is comfortable for both parties and avoids awkward situations. Perfect for short term bonding, before the question ‘shall we have a drink at my place’ comes, you are packing your bags again.
Every human being should have a few special long-lasting friends, to invest in and who invest in you equally. It is vital for your mental health and definitely increases your happiness index. I am lucky to have a few, who I can ask to pull my finger and who smile if I then laugh with my own fart joke.
I am ready to start that PhD now.
|Young Couple in the village Malen V (Cameroon, 2013)|