How to lose friends and alienate people, Cambridge style

A handy guide from MORWENNA JONES to help you ditch those pesky people who make up the last of your friends.

5p bedders bumps cambridge problems DoS hashtag lose friends morwenna jones Rowing

 ‘Sorry, what university do you go to?’

At home in the blissful peace of the South West, any conversation among school friends about university always involves me being sarcastically asked this question, at least ten times.

Why? For the same reason that their eyes glaze over at any mention of Cindies or the Maypole.  Or that they still can’t remember which college I’m at, and simply say of Murray Edwards’ really rather creative use of concrete, that it’s ‘a bit ugly.’  And it’s  the same reason that my new Facebook profile picture of me in my gown, deep-throating a slice of 5p coin-adorned cheesecake, has received no attention (apart from a primary school friend calling me a twat and my mum telling me to remember my manners).

I am an expert at reminding people that I live in a place where gowns, punts and dropping currency in fellow students’ food and drink, are all part of the daily routine.

Breakfast banter

Breakfast banter

So here’s how to lose, alienate and generally piss-off those few friends you have who haven’t been scared away by your typical Cambridge-student lack of people skills:

Get with the lingo.  Nothing will annoy them more than the overly pretentious language of your world-class university.  Try these phrases:

“My DoS gave me the notes for my Supo but I left them at the plodge.”

“I got deaned/ gowned because I chundered on the statue of <insert famous alumni here> on suicide/ caesarean Sunday.

“My bedder spilt tea on my boatie stash and it’s Bumps tomorrow.”

Let them talk about how much work they have, then talk about how much work you have.  Listen politely to them describing their weekly workload.   Then take a deep breath and relate your weekly torture of lectures, all-nighters and vicious supervisors in vivid detail.  When you’ve finished and made a sufficiently good attempt at belittling them, smile sweetly and patronisingly say: ‘but I’m sure you feel like you have a lot of work too.’

Don’t turn up to things. This one’s a real winner. Their first birthday at uni?  Their first house-warming party?  Their 21st birthday at a London hotel with an open bar? Always have too much to do.  If they ask questions, say that you’re rowing.

Social Media. They might be able to zone you out as you prattle about what happened at the Van of Death, but they can’t escape that easily. Use the hashtag ‘#CambridgeProblems’ when you run out of 1p coins right before a swap. Relentlessly post about the ‘totally-worth-it book’ you read in the library at 5am. Finally, upload heavily filtered pictures of random Cambridge spires and rooftops. Add the caption ‘The view from my window,’ and you’ll have them wistfully looking at the concrete lumps that surround them in despair.

#OMG check out my #bed for the year. Shame about the #clashingcolours

#OMG check out my #bed for the year. Shame about the #clashingcolours

Start Rowing. Before you know it, your Facebook profile will be a shrine to the glories of the River Cam and you’ll have a whole new vocabulary with which to try the patience of home and university friends alike.

Play it cool.  This is undoubtedly the most annoying of all techniques.  Talk at length about university, but never reveal where you study.  If asked, reply vaguely ‘Oh, just somewhere north of London,’ or, better still, blush and say ‘it’s embarrassing,’ before continuing to talk about 24 hour libraries and three course formal halls.  Providing their intelligence is slightly greater than that of the average chimpanzee/Land Economy student, they’ll guess where you study within thirty seconds.

Pull off any of the above off with panache, and nobody will ever forget where you go to university again.  If, however, they make that apparently oh-so-easy mistake of assuming you go to the Other Place, take them hostage and make them write ‘GDBO’ in letters ten-foot high light-blue letters across the Bodleian library.  That’ll teach ’em.