Hey. You. Go start a dinner club.
Now, I know what you’re thinking — “Who’s this bossy, flat loser that thinks she can just waltz in here and suggest things at me? She doesn’t know me! She doesn’t know my life! I’m an individual!”
Sure, that’s technically true, but what is also true is that at this point you — like most university students — are 95 per cent fueled by low-level rage at your friends from first year who you don’t see anymore. The other five per cent is a mixture of false hope, pot and convincing yourself that drinking a Bellini in public won’t tarnish your image.
If any first-years are reading this, this is what happens to interpersonal relationships when you grow up — all the people whose company you once enjoyed seep into oblivion as your weekly Dancing With The Stars viewing parties fade into monthly Dancing With The Stars viewing parties, then quarterly, and then one day you die. You, naturally, are free of guilt whenever this happens because you are the best, most considerate friend ever and your entire cohort is made up of flakes who are completely to blame for any bumps in your relationship.
So now that we’ve established that your friends suck, you’re perfect and the only way to save these friendships is through a social intervention. May I suggest you heed my advice and start a dinner club?
Feeling like it’s a bit silly? Fine. But you can’t argue with the efficacy of dinner club throughout history. This is but one of many examples:
As a tool to initiate get-togethers with hard-to-reach friends, the dinner club entered mainstream in 1800s Leipzig where it was the favourite activity of Prussian nobles. In fact, the only thing the Prussian elite preferred at dinner club were week-long benders wherein they’d smoke opiates and think up new ways to kick the crap out of France. In fact, although your whole life you’ve been told otherwise, it was actually not the assassination of Franz Ferdinand but rather a Berlin potluck logistical error that initiated World War I.
In other words, start a dinner club and all your interpersonal problems will melt away, so long as you avoid catalyzing a transnational conflict. It’s just like a sorority, but with more experimental cooking and less branded t-shirts. Also probably less $7 rosé, although this is purely speculation.
Now, I’m sure your head is filled with questions — “What if I’m not good at cooking? Will this truly work to reunite friendships? What’s Prussia?” (Answers, in order: That’s irrelevant. Yes. And nobody truly knows and we're just too embarrassed to admit it.)
But yes, dinner club will absolutely motivate friends to get off their gross behinds and see each other. This is because humans are no different from Pavlovian dogs, except we have opposable thumbs. Also, less tapeworms.
And to elaborate on your first question — you don’t have to be a good cook to excel at dinner club, uh-duh. Have you not met university students? We could subsist solely on citric acid and osmosis-absorbed Westworld, and not tire of that for years.
If you’re truly terrible at cooking but still want to win back your friends, start out with a simple dish like, say, pizza. I include below my generations-old homemade recipe which has both critics and my favourite former-roommate raving with praise such as “didn’t give me botulism” and “had salt.” It goes like so:
Step 1) Have a friend make pizza.
Step 2) Bring beer.
And that’s all it takes to retain people you like. Or restart the next World War which, let’s be honest, we’re probably overdue for anyway.