The Joy Of Picking Which Six Friends To Invite Into Your Social 'Bubble'

Alice Wignall
Photo credit: Flashpop - Getty Images

From ELLE

Aaaaaand, we’re back in the game. After ten long years – oh, weeks, was it? – of lockdown, we’re bringing our social lives out of suspended animation (bye Zoom, it was nice knowing you, sort of, not really) with the news that groups of six people can now meet outside.

Naturally this news helpfully coincided with the temperature immediately dropping 10 degrees, but in theory at least it’s time once again for conversation, laughter, meaningful eye contact and whatever it is we do when we’re not peering at some grainy pixels shouting, ‘You’ve frozen again!’

Anyway, this is all great news and we can hardly wait to – though, wait up, what was that? Six, you say? As in, one more than five? Oh, no, wait, we’re included the six, so it actually just five.

Now, not that we want to brag (we do), but our social circle is a bit bigger than five people. So it’s time to get ruthless like the Met Ball party planners and trim that guest list. But how?

Photo credit: Flashpop - Getty Images

Read the small print

The government advice on these gathering goes on for pages and pages, addressing such urgent issues as whether you can get into each other’s swimming pools (no) or play croquet (yes). Rather more relevant to the 99.9 per cent of us who don’t own a stately home is the fact that guests should ideally bring their own crockery and chairs.

So that’s the first hurdle: who amongst your friends is not going to ruin your carefully crafted tablescape with the plates their mum bought them when they went to uni and for some inexplicable reason they’re still using?

Get your tape measure out

While you can now have your mates over to your house, you still have to remain socially distanced – i.e. two metres away from each other at all times.

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You may wonder why the limit is six for people you know, when you could go to the park and be two metres away from hundreds of people you’ve never met before, but we find it’s best not to think too hard about these things or you start to feel strange and everything stops making sense.

Now unless you do own the aforementioned stately home, you might want to think about the fact that six people maintaining that kind of distance from each other take up quite a lot of space.

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Of course, people who are already ‘a household’ can be as close as they like, so here’s your choice: try your best to fit in your single friends who have been quietly going crazy by themselves and will be desperate for some honest-to-goodness fun or go with the couples who have been cooped up together for the same time, and will be seething with stored-up resentments and kill the vibe within about twenty seconds but do, at least, use up less room.

Define your door policy

Imagine the scene: you’re scrolling through your phone one evening and suddenly there it is: the pictorial evidence of one of your friends’ first joy-of-six party and the confirmation that you’re not in the top tier when it comes to mates’ ratings. Ouch.

Obviously you don’t want to do that to your own pals so perhaps you might consider imposing a strict code of secrecy over the whole event and nobody outside the inner circle need ever be any the wiser. But come on. These are people who have been cooped up inside for two months, with nothing to Instagram except their one house plant and a series of increasingly unhinged ASOS purchases. It’s inevitable that some evidence of your soirée is going to end up on social media, and then it’s game over.

Nope. You’re going to have to bite the bullet and invite not the most fun, but the least likely to kick off if they don’t get invited. And then make your peace with the fact that friends are like dominos: once you knock one down, a whole lot more follow. So you invite friend A, but that means her flatmate has to come too, not to mention her boyfriend, and also friends B, C and D, because you were all in the same 'friendship group' when you were 12 and somehow that remains a thing. But you need at least you actually like, so your best work friend is coming – who, to be honest, you missed more than your mum – and then maybe… Hang on a second, how many are we up to?

Guys, should we just do a Zoom instead?


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