02x03 - With Friends

Episode transcripts for the TV show "Very British Problems". Aired August 2015 - current.
"Very British Problems" is a humorous look at the British and their habits.
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02x03 - With Friends

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[music playing]

NARRATOR: Britain, the homeof the British, million

of us bound together by the loveof a nice grab bag of crisps,

a brisk walk in the fresh air,and pretending we're busy so we

don't have to see our friends.

Our history and culture are theenvy of the rest of the world.

But our weird behavior andcomplicated social codes

leave other nations utterly baffled.

Yes, prince or pauper, publican or politician,

we all spend every waking moment flustered,

flummoxed, and frustratedby "Very British Problems."

If you've ever been topolite to recline your seat

in an airplane, shown how muchyou like someone by insulting

them, or lost sleep overwho you'll be sat next to

at a wedding, then don't panic.

These are "Very British Problems,"

and you are not alone.

It's ridiculous, but we do it.

We do it because we're British.

NARRATOR: In this series, we'lltake a look at the hidden codes

that citizens of this islandare somehow hardwired to follow.

We fear looking arrogant.

I'm just terrified I'mgoing to say the wrong thing.

Please don't make a scene.

It's fine.

NARRATOR: And we will investigate

the logic behind ourbizarre British behavior.

Ooh, weird little sprites, you.

NARRATOR: It's OK, we've got problems.

But they're our problems--

"Very British Problems."

British f*cking love tradition.

NARRATOR: In this episode, we take a look

at those "Very British Problems" that crop up

when us Brits, with our famous foibles

and our fear of intimacy,join hands and become friends.

Well, not actually join hands, obviously.


What could be more naturalthan letting your hair down

with your fellow man, sharing a cup of tea,

a cheery smile, and all ofyour innermost feelings?

If you're British, pretty much anything.

It takes a long time for British people

to get to a point where they canfully express what they think

and tell them your problems.

That takes ages.

Americans-- to seconds and they're talking

about hemorrhoids or some shit.

NARRATOR: In fact, what with all of our inbuilt

awkwardness and fear of opening up,

it's a miracle we manage to have friends at all.

We've reached a point in life where

I think I can say this with honesty,

we don't have any friends, do we?

Right, true.

Unlike Americans, whoaccording to academic research,

have up to seven close friends,and the French, who have four,

Brits can count their innermostcircle on the fingers of--

well, two fingers.

I think it is a British thingthat we have a best friend,

they're often imposedupon us from an early age,

and you stick by that person.

NARRATOR: When we'reyounger, what makes a friend

is all so simple.

Once we hit adulthood, thingsget a little more confusing,

especially to an outsider.

NARRATOR: I don't know what constitutes

a friend in Britain.

Brits go from being really standoffish to--

four beers later-- huggingyou and humping your leg.

What does that mean?

Would you help me move a d*ad body, no.

Then you're not my friend.

NARRATOR: Only if you're drunk,can you grab someone and go,

I love you, mate.

The rules are the rest of timeyou have to-- especially men,

male friends, you just have to--

you're a weenie, you w*nk*r.

I mean that is as close as you'll get to I

love you man in Britain.

NARRATOR: A crucial part of Britishness

is never quite saying what we mean.

We find ourselves talking in code.

And especially for the male of our species,

the main code is this--

the bigger the insult, the closer the friend.

Well, I think banter is quite a big part

of British friendship groups, isn't it?

Because we can't talk abouthow our feelings and emotions.

You can't talk aboutanything good you've done,

or anything you've bought,or anything good you've got,

or a job promotion, because that's bragging.

So what is left istaking a piss at yourself

and taking a piss at someone else.

I've got a friend at uni who threw up Stella

Artois on his first night.

And was known as Artois throughout uni.

I used to get called--

some of my uni friends still call me cup nose,

because I had a nose shaped like a penis.

I do, apparently.

NARRATOR: It's like a playground.

If a Brit's being mean toyou, it's their way of saying

they actually like you.

And once they do like you,they'll do anything for you.

But why are us Brits sobad at telling our friends

how we actually feel about them?

It's sort of the Victorian era,

I think, that f*cked us all up, isn't it?

This sort of fear ofemotion, fear of being seen

as in any way unpredictable.

Thanks, Queen Victoria.

NARRATOR: Yes, our Victorian ancestors

passed down a stiff upper lip, which

keeps everyone at arm's length.

And it's not gone unnoticed.

The World Economic Forum recently ranked the UK

as only the th friendliest country,

way behind our European neighbors

like Portugal, Austria, and Ireland.

Iceland was in the number one slot.

But they probably just hugeach other to keep warm.



Look at that there, boom.


NARRATOR: Whilst us Brits only have

two really close friends, we have lots

and lots of what we call mates.

So many, in fact, that we liketo categorize them into groups.

You have a friend fromschool or a friend from work,

a holiday chum or a gym buddy,a mate from down the pub,

or that nice couple from down the road.

But God forbid any of themactually meet each other.

No one wants to cross-pollinate friends.

Don't do it, you know.

It's your worst nightmare.

In life there are compartments.

And you put friends into compartments.

And I do get stressed when somecompartments might collide.

Often the compartments won't merge.

Uh, uh, uh.

And so that's quite awkward.

People have friends, differentgroups that should never meet.

Often I've been in plays, andI've invited some of the boys

to come and watch it.

And I'll f*cking-- you know, I'mup on the stage with my theater

friends and doing me thing.

And they think it's like a pantomime.

I come home they're f*cking screaming,

shouting, going woohoo!

I'm thinking, f*ck, you know.

You shouldn't have really havebeen to the National Theatre,


That's [inaudible].

NARRATOR: But surely thereare some circumstances

when it's fine for the differentfriendship tribes to meet.

For my partner's th birthday,

I arranged to buy dinner forhim with all his friends.

And when I told him, henearly had a mental breakdown.

Because he was like they have never met.

And I had to calm him downand talk him through that.

It's going to be OK.

We're going to get through this.

NARRATOR: Nope, clearly it's never fine.

I can't let some people in my life

meet other people in my life.

I have got strictobservance five times a day

praying Muslim people.

And I've got friends who do a live sex show,

like sits on her back with her ankles sprayed

in the air and just kind of likespurts things into the crowd.

What the hell are these groups of people going

to talk to each other about?

And it kind of makes mefeel quite [hyperventilates]

thinking about it.

The therapist would say that itisn't up to me to control it.

But the British person inme wants to get a clipboard

and go, I can control itby never letting them meet.

NARRATOR: Surely there's someone we

can blame for this peculiarsocial foible, our ancestors

from the days of the British Empire, maybe.

I think Britain feels verysad about all the colonies

that it's lost.

So I think what happens is, as an element

to try and get that back, theylike to control their friends

almost like a fiefdom.

So they like to have them in thesame way you'd have separated

the people of different crops on your land,

whereas in Ireland we all have to sort of deal

with one little patch of land.

So we like the sweetpotatoes in with the carrots.

NARRATOR: But maybe ourreluctance to mix friends

has a slightly simpler explanation.

It's the stomachchurning fear that people

will discover you'll notquite who you said you were.

If you've reinvented yourselfout of school and suddenly

become a completely different person,

and you maintain those two different personas,

when they get together-- no.

They'll discover that I'm notactually a professional surfer.

You are different peopleto different people.

Otherwise, you wouldn't have any friends.

You never want to be yourself.

And if we worried aboutdifferent groups of friends

meeting each other, that pales in comparison

with the sheer horror when one of your friends

brings someone new along.

You'll be glad to hear we canblame science for this one.

MRI scans have shownthat meeting a new person

activates precisely the same area of the brain

as the fear of injury or death.

My mates I went to schoolwith still drink in the same pub

that we used to try and drinkin illegally on a Friday night.

And they are always very wary ofsomeone new joining that group.

Yeah, I know.

Stuart Turner has been hangingout with some guy from work.

Brought him down the pub the other day.

I mean what?

What's that about?

I don't know.

Maybe Stuart Turner wantsto bring some friends

and integrate his mates and have a nice evening.

[sniffs] No, he's a dickhead.


Seen his car?

It's really nice, Audi.

Yeah, come in an [inaudible] Audi.

[sniffs] Who does he think he is?

Cut to a year's time out, you know,

he's your best bloke, best bloke.

You know, I don't like Stuart--

Stuart Turner can do one.

But his mate from work, he's always the best.

He's the absolute best.

Yeah, his dad's got a place in Florida.

We're all going to go.

We're all going next summer.

It's like-- it just takes a while, I think.

I just think we're notgood adjustors to change.

NARRATOR: But what's wrongwith liking things the way

they were, not being caught off guard?

Like the Boy Scouts, our motto is, be prepared.

And always wear your woggle.

British people need toknow who's coming to the pub

so they can adjust howthey're going to cope with it.

So what you have to do is go, oh,

I'm bringing Gary from work.

Right, but my mate did thisto us, turned up with Gary.

We're all .

Gary's .

I was like, why you brought your dad mate?

What's happening here?

He's sitting there with his hiking boots on.

At least you've got the tube.

Escalator broke, mate.

You cannot sit here with hiking boots,

boot cut jeans on, a flannelshirt and a regatta fleece.

He looks like a youth worker.

It's like we've gone off the rails.

We've got a chaperone.

We've got four points of lagerand an ale for the [inaudible]

with shit shoes on.

NARRATOR: So to recap, us Britskeep our friends carefully

segregated, we really don't wantto meet your mate from work,

and we demonstrate our friendship by throwing

insults at each other.

Aren't we lovely?

We're taking a look at thetricky art of friendship.

And now it's time towiden our social circles.

The British anthropologist Robin Dunbar

calculated that we can maintain up to

meaningful relationships at one time.

That's the same size as youraverage medieval village,

or the number of people who'vebeen in the [inaudible].

But expanding your social circlecan cause all sorts of problems

for the Brits, and none greaterthan when you absolutely

have to make a good impression.

I remember when I met my wife's

friends for the first time.

Her best friend at the time took me to one side

and did the whole just letyou know that if you hurt her,

I'm going to hurt you back.

Is this "The Sopranos" or something?

I don't know what's going on?

It's a minefield of social interaction.

But if you don't go in with thefriends, you might be dumped.

Meeting your girlfriend's friends

is always kind of quite odd.

And hanging out with them as well,

because you know you're unsure a bit

and you know you're being sized up.

So you have to kind of be on best behavior.

I think she couldn't give a shitwhat my friends think of her.

If anything, them liking her, she would

be quite insulted by that.

Because they like me andthat is a slight upon them.

NARRATOR: Whilst us Brits agonize over meeting

our partner's friends, our American cousins

seem a little more laidback about it all, as usual.

Yeah, there's a lot of situations where

my wife and her British friendsand me and my American friends

will get together.

And it's an exercise in mutual toleration.

The Americans are loud and boisterous.

And her friends stare at my friends

and they're horrified by their behavior.

You never know, if thestars align in the right way,

you might really get onwith your partner's friends.

There's always a chance.

After all, you both like your other half.

But how about if all youhave in common with someone

is that your kids go to the same school.

As our kids get older and we're now involved

in the school run, my wife is,oh, we've been

invited to this couple's house.

And I'm just of the thinking of--

well, no.

Just tell them I've died.

If you say I've died, we never have to go.

But inevitably we do go.

And you end up just coupling off.

So it's you and the guy.

And he's sort of telling you about some--

let me show you what I'vedone with this fish t*nk.

I call it a fish t*nk.

It's more like an aquarium.

And you're like, I don't give a shit, mate.

I don't care.

So you've not any interest in having fish?

Well, come down to the garden,because we've got some,

we've actually got some koi in the pond.

Oh mate, I don't care.

Do they eat humans?

Because if they do, I'm going to jump in.

My wife has just recentlygot a circle of friends

at the school that my son goes to.

And so now what that meansis, is that me and six guys

have to pretend to likeeach other every so often.

So we go into a room.

The women all [inaudible] together.

They f*ck off.

And then I'm with these guys that I

couldn't give a shit about.

And now we've got to find away to talk to each other.

Should we just pretend for a bitthat we're interested in what

each other's got to say now?


Can we talk about the fact thatI hope that my wife falls out

with all of your wives so Idon't have to come to this shit


NARRATOR: So our social circles are expanding.

And ever since Facebook arrivedon Britain's shores in ,

the word friend has been completely redefined.

This can mean anyone,including your boss, your mom,

or a nauseating profile your neighbor

has set up for their Labrador.

Or worse than that, friendcan mean your in-laws.

Studies have shown that Brits meet the in-laws

after an average of dates.

And they probably have nightmares about it

for the following years.

It's a big deal meeting the parents.

And what you don't want is a homicidal lunatic,

someone who's not going to k*ll me for sleeping

with their daughter.

I always think it's very weird with

the father-in-law especially.

Because he's sitting there and he's thinking,

you'd just like getting mydaughter naked a some point,

don't you?

And I feel like, I'mreally sorry about having

sex with your daughter.

If it wasn't--

I reckon that wouldmake the situation worse.

You can't if you want toapologize for the fact you've

been a dirty little git with their offspring

for the last couple of months before I've

eventually had the confidenceto stick you in front of them.

It's very, verydifficult, that situation

when you go out and have dinner with the girl

that you're playing.

You meet the mom and dad.

It's odd.

You just want to sit there withyour nut down and just eat.

We first go out at Aubergine'sfor the first time.

I like them now, but back in the day,

I thought what the f*ck is that, what do I do?

f*cking f*cking his daughter.

It was a horrible experience.

I don't know what to say or what to talk about.

You feel slightly guilty, I suppose.

And trying to come across like I'm

not really very wild about his daughter.

I'm a gentleman.

When really, I was sittingthere with a f*cking

boner under the table.

NARRATOR: Danny Dyer, don't make me

speak to your mother about you.

The basic rule of thumb for the British

when buddying up with the in-laws

is to stay on your very best behavior.

However, it doesn't always seemto work in other countries.

I did bring a Britishboy back to Ireland once.

It was quite awkward.

My mother is a retired jockey.

And she used to work in this jockey school.

And there is this simulator ofa horse in the jockey school.

And so without fail, my mother has

put every potential boyfriendup on this simulator

to see how he rides basically.

And one particular British boyfriend,

who was just in shock over the whole thing,

was up on this horse.

And mommy was trying to teachhim how to ride properly.

And she like pushed down his head into the horse,

and then stuck her hand rightup underneath his undercarriage,

right up there.

And went, come on, Tom!

You have to make it work!

You have to go with the horse!

Go with the horse, Tom!

So she had her hand right uphis arse for the whole time.

And then after that, the rest ofthe weekend was pretty awkward.

NARRATOR: Of course, whatwe're trying to do, really,

is deter any notion that we might be canoodling

with their little darling.

So we've come up with various codes

and distraction techniques.

They like to look at the photos

and say, oh, wow, when you wereyoung, you were really trendy,

weren't you?

That kind of thing, wow, youwere quite a one in your time,

weren't you? [laughter]

How do you field that?

Who did it to you, the father or the mother?

The mum.

No, you must do that.

Say, you know, like, oh, wow, that vase

is one incredible [inaudible].

And look at those pictures, yourwife is gorgeous, isn't she?

This carpet, the swells on this are--

- Knockout, isn't it? - It's knockout.

Absolutely knockout.

What sort of weft is it?


You don't know.

That doesn't matter.

I'll tell you what, Mrs. Baker,

you must have one hell of a Hoover,

because this carpet is pristine.

Do you have a good Hoover?

I'd like to see the Hoover.

I'd love to see it, yeah.

Was it a shag pile?

Do you and the husband, you know.

No, I've gone too far, Mrs. Baker.

I've gone too far.

The imagination's runningaway wildly with me.

NARRATOR: Even when sex isoff the table, as it were,

that doesn't stop parents being the cause

of untold embarrassment, notleast when it's your parents

and they're meeting you friends.

My mom seems to think thatmy friends have some sort

of control over my life.

So what she'll do is she'llstart passing parenting

messages to them for me.

So she'll say something like, can't you

get him to just trim his beard?

He looks horrible.

And his shirt, he's all spread out

and there's like chocolatecoming out of it.

Can't you tell him?

And so I'm having to listen tothis shit, like I'm not there.

NARRATOR: Of course, ourparents ability to embarrass us

starts at a young age.

I know specifically the point when

I realized I'm not a child.

What are you doing?

All my friends can see you.

It's when we came back froma school journey, and my mom,

to welcome me home in front of everyone,

it's a sort of innocuous thing.

She'd put a paper cap on her head.

She put a polystyrene cup on her head,

and as we drove into the drive, my mom was

doing this [inaudible] Oh god.

My god.

No, no, It your mom gotta paper cup on her?

Don't know.

I don't know.

Stop it.

It was like I wanted to rip the skin off me.

I'm almost like--

I'm like, I'm now.

Don't do the paper cup on the head thing.

NARRATOR: Whether it's your mates parents,

your partner's pals, or indeed, any one

you're trying to make friendswith, here in Britain we

know the fail-safe topics to turn to when

meeting a fellow man or woman.

For us girls, there'snothing like a bit of praise.

The go to conversation with British women

is taking yourself apart.

So I say to you, yourhair looks really lovely.

And you go, you should have seen it last week.

It was so dreadful.

But you look great.

And then you go, oh, do I really?

I'm so tired at the moment.

Oh, I love that.

Oh, I couldn't wear that with my boobs.

I couldn't.

And they go, oh, yeah.

You've got big boobs though.

I would love boobs.

No, you wouldn't like boobs like mine.

Honestly, get a [inaudible].Get a [inaudible].

But you can wear spaghetti straps.

NARRATOR: British women can volley

compliments and self-deprecatingreplies for ages.

I think my personal recordis about hours nonstop.

There's more defined rules with women

about how you approach stuff.

I like your hair.

Oh, that's a nice pair of shoes.

Oh, That that perfume?

I can't do that.

I can't go to a bloke I've just met and say,

I like what you've done with your hair.

That doesn't fly in this country.

So men talk about football.

NARRATOR: Football has been around

in Britain since the ninthcentury, when medieval men

would kick a pig's bladderfrom one end of the village

to another.

And according to a rule book at the time,

any means could be used, m*rder and manslaughter, which

were presumed to be a red card.

I don't know how peoplelive, meeting new people,

without having that to talk about.

No, it really is.

Do you know, I prefer someone to fess up

and say they don't like football.

The worst conversation to get stuck in

is when they say they do, andthen you realize they don't

really know much about it.

Oh, who just [inaudible] Liverpool?

What do you think of the [inaudible]?


And then you're like, well,what am I going to do with this?

Yeah, I'd rather they were just honest.

And so, three cheers for football.

NARRATOR: Yes, men have been obsessing

over the finer details of the apparently

beautiful game for centuries.

In , King Edward III actually

banned football, because it was distracting men

from practicing their archery.

Most British fellowswill indulge in a football

for a few minutes at least.

And if you get lucky, you can do it all night.

I generally try and breakthe ice with British aerospace.


And it's Newcastle .

NARRATOR: So what could bemore fun than a whole weekend

of laddish football banter fuelled

by testosterone and tequila?

Everybody loves a stag do, right?

Of course, they don't.

Weren't you concentrating earlier?

That means hanging out with your mate's mates

for a whole harrowing weekend.

Stag dos are Britishpeople's [inaudible] work,

it's the ultimate mixing of friendship groups.

In that, you start clicking with someone.

Then you think, he's a good bloke, isn't he?

Married, kids, what a nice fellow.

And then we'd be like, he's great.

Yeah, he's really nice. You should meet him.

He's got his lovely wife Lindsey.

We're going to go, maybe go out for dinner.

Meet the kids, stuff like that.

No, three hours later he'sin a brothel, isn't he?

What's wrong with these people?

NARRATOR: British stag dosdate back to Tudor times.

And Henry the VIII, who did have six of them,

used to sentence his friends to death

if he didn't think they were participating

enough in the celebrations.

Makes getting handcuffedto a lamppost sound a bit

tame, really.

I went on a stag do a couple of years

ago with a guy I'd met throughwork and his old friends,

who were basically just like thugs.

They're like, whoa, whoa,whoa, whoa, beer, beer, beer.

And they just get obsessedwith going to strip clubs,

and we were a bit like--

Joe, what is the deal?

And he went yes.

He was like this isn't so muchas a stag as a farewell party.

NARRATOR: So what have we learned?

We basically need to avoidmeeting any new people,

whether they're our friend'spartners, our future in-laws,

or strangers at a stag do.

You're safest just stayingon the sofa, really.

We are dissecting those "Very British Problems"

that our friendships are fraught with.

We heard about the dreadBritish men feel when they

realized they'll have to bond with blokes

they don't know at a stag do.

And after the stag do, there'susually, well, hopefully,

a wedding, a day fraught withawkward social situations.

And what do we worry about the most?

What to wear?

What to give?

Will the bride get cold feet and not turn up?

No, the table plan.

I definitely get tableplan anxiety at weddings.

There is that moment, isn't there,

when you walk towards the big easels

and you're looking for your name.

And thinking oh, please, letthere just be somebody there

that I know, just somebody Ican have some kind of connection


You have no choice.

You have no control.

And that means you're goingto have to talk to strangers,

and that is the British nightmare, isn't it?

NARRATOR: For some reason,when planning their wedding,

our friends forget thecardinal rule of being British.

We don't want to speak topeople we don't already know.

It's your worst nightmare sitting next

to some boring prick, talking about f*cking

Indian burial grounds.

I've had that once.

Oh, f*ck you now, mate, seriously?

So you know swerve 'em.

I don't fancy sitting there with strangers

at a f*cking -seater table.

Get f*cked.

I'd rather sit indoorsand watch "Bargain Hunt."

They presume that you might have

something to say to this person, and not

to your friend or your wife.

And your wife's over there and we're

both on the phone likethis, texting each other,

saying, the bloke I'm with is a piece of shit.

How are you going?

Same thing comes back.


If you're having a conversation with Bob,

you always know when you've said something

that he's got no interestin, because he goes mm.

Do I?

I didn't know that. Mm.


You say, well, I won't bother pursuing that.

NARRATOR: It's lovely to know that after

years of friendship,there are still things you

don't know about each other.

The average British weddingmeal, with its umpteen courses

and never-ending speeches and toasts,

drags on for an exhausting and / hours.

To put that in perspective,that's how long

it takes to fly to Morocco.

So how do we make time flyat a table of strangers?

We drink, of course.

I had one situation where my wife said

to me, do not get drunk today.

Please don't embarrass me.

So I was like fine.

I sat next to a pregnant lady.

And I'll be honest with you.

I was smashing it conversationwise, absolutely ripping

like I haven't had a gig in my life.

And then I saw this wasp justhovering above our table.

Imagine if now I get rid of a wasp.

I was thinking this is kindof the piece de resistance

of my wedding experience.

As it is, I swatted the waspand smashed it into the woman's

face that was sat next to me.

My wife looked at me as if to say,

I'm literally going to find my solicitor now,

you insufferable prick.

NARRATOR: So the speeches are over,

and you're suitably merry from the prosecco.

All you want to do nowis to silently slink off.

But there's a looming horror.

What if your mates castaside their normal awkward

Britishness and break into a dance routine

that they've been planning for weeks?

The first dance should be thecouple clinging to each other

and moving very slowly from sideto side while everyone cheers--

not "Flashdance" with routines and twirls

and throwing people up in the air.

NARRATOR: Honestly, youthink you know your friends

and then they do this to you.

Following the popularity ofshows such as "Strictly,"

an astonishing % of Brits attempt

a US-style choreographed first dance.

If you come out, and it'slike "Strictly" finals week

on the dance floor, peoplejust look around like--

I thought we knew these people.

You're judged quiteharshly if it's too good.

To be kind of mid-levelgood, Ainsley Harriott good.

I prefer a wedding dance that's

a first dance of two people going,

well, this is embarrassing.

But at least from this moment on,

we're going to spend the rest of our lives

together, as opposed to thischoreographed phase of dancing.

Oh, well, it started withthe Bangles' "Eternal Flame."

He whipped his jacket off.

They both put the shades on.

And it just went whop 'me gangnam style.

And no-- that's it, done.

You know what?

You two shouldn't get divorced.

We will be divorcing as friends.

NARRATOR: So a friend's weddingcan be hard work for us Brits.

But so can planning flawlessformal affairs, especially

with the advent of the group message.

And yes, I'm looking at you, WhatsApp.

For my group of friends, there's

one person who's the organizer, who

sort of sends out a group text.

Hey, guys, here's a list of potential dates.

Let me know what works vis a vis a catch up.

When people can't make a day,why do we have to rearrange?

Because you know, if Dave'snot coming, should we just

go ahead with that day anyway.

If anything, I'd like to setup a little separate group

text, specifically target aday when Dave can't make it.

But then there's a fear that they

organize a date when you can't make it

and you've shit on Dave.

A recent study on the useof social media in the UK

show that every hour Britsspend with their friends

takes minutes to plan.

And still half peopleturn up in the wrong pub.

British people have atendency not to be clear.

I don't really like that bar.

I don't like that restaurant.

I don't like Mexican food.

And so they dance around,somebody is always in charge

of making the arrangements.

And often it ends up that no one is actually

happy about seeing each other.

NARRATOR: But if we're nothappy with an arrangement,

we'll just come straight out with it, right?

Obviously not, we're British.

I think we've learned tobe much more diplomatic now.

And there's lots of stuff talking

about what's on the table.

What are the options on the table?

Well, I don't know.

We were going to go for a picnic.

Yeah, no, that sounds great.

Or we could go back to mine for a roast dinner

and not sit on the floor and eat sandwiches

that've got gravel in them.

But it sounds great.

I'm seeing this, and I'm offering you this.

If you say to someone, ifthey presented an idea to you

say, and they go, yeah, I mean, are there any,

were there any other options,any other alternatives?

That means I hate your ideawith every fiber of my being.

And if you insist on followingthrough with your idea,

I'm going to s*ab you in the face.

It's the same with youmust come round tomorrow.

You must go out for dinner.

Yeah, we must go out for dinner.

No one wants to go to dinner.

You never want to see them again.

It's just code.

If someone is saying, oh, we must have dinner.

We must get together.

And there is no-- it's open-ended.

For me, when I say it, it meansI don't want to see you again.

I don't want to see you.

I don't want to have dinner with you.

And I assume other people mean the same.

And that's why we're so anxious as Brits.

Because you don't really know.

Everything has a double meaning.

Let's meet for a drink canmean let's meet for a drink,

or it can mean let's never meet for a drink.

And sometimes it'simpossible to work it out.

And that's why I think whenpeople come here from abroad,

they just don't know what's going on.

He said he wanted to meet for a drink,

but he's not returning any of my calls.

No because let's meet for a drink means let's

not meet for a drink.

Does it always?

Well, not always.


NARRATOR: What we want to say is I hate you.

You bore me, and I never want to see you again.

What we end up doing is subtlytrying to shake friends off,

and doing it so subtly that it never works.

I've got a string of peoplethat I've got kind of--

I'm pretty sure I'm nevergoing to see them again.

But I just keep them spinning ontext every three to six months,

with a kind of yeah, weshould meet up for a drink.

I think everyone has.

I think if you're telling someone

that you should meet up with them for a drink,

you're not doing it naturally.

You'd never do it naturally.

Imagine if you've been working,

you haven't got many nights off.

And then you go to your girlfriend.

No I can't spend the evening with you

because I'm meeting Steve from school

because I owe him his biannual drink.

It's always awkward when yousee somebody from the street

that you've not seen for ages.

And they're like, oh, we should definitely like,

we should like basically build on this

by doing the same thing, butwith alcohol and for longer.

And it's like no, we shouldn't.

Well, if we were honest, we'dgo, oh, it's good to see you.

But there's a reason I cut you out of my life.

We're too polite to say that.

NARRATOR: Yes, there'snothing that strikes dread

into the heart of aBrit, nothing that chills

our very soul more than bumpinginto someone in the street,

especially someone we used to be friends with

but haven't seen for years.

You see someone comingfrom a distance in the street

that you know a little bit.

And you spot them early and they spot you early.

You've then got that seconds of coming

together, where you can't speakbecause you're too far apart.

But you-- and then are you stopping?

What's the rule?

Are you going to stop and have a conversation?

You go as if you're going to leave,

and then they've stopped.

And ha, ha, ha, ha, yes, of course,

we were always going to stop.

We were always going to stopand have a conversation.

Given the choice, I'llnever do the stop and chat.

I'll always just keep moving.

Just a steady pace.

Just a kind of hi, how are you doing?

Looking good, kids well?


But moving the whole time.

I'm not stopping for anybody.

NARRATOR: In Britain, the ruleson whether you stop and chat

depend on where you hail from.

I'll tell you what's a thingback from where we're from,

but I don't know whether it's all

over Britain, is when you go back

and see someone from school.

There's that sort of T sidething, where you go, all right,

Mickey, how are you doing?

And he says, all right, me youngest died.

But it's all right.

Oh, I'm so sorry, mate.

He's like, I'm only joking.

It's weird that, isn't it?

Weird thing that they do.

NARRATOR: We probably shouldstick to ignoring people,

but our hardwired British code of conduct

means that we can never completely

ignore someone on the street.

Goodness, no!

The worst thing is that thing where it's

someone you don't really know.

And so that's it.

And so that's the most you do.

It's one of them, oh, it's one of them.

But why can we not say nothing?

Why can you not just--

like have you ever tried to do it?

I've tried to do it before.

And say, I'm just going to ignore them.

I'm going to ignore them.I'm going to ignore them.

Can't do it, do you know what I mean?

NARRATOR: Why not just give them a little wave?

Nothing weird about that, surely.

The British wave is quite a specific thing.

Nobody ever waves like that in real life.

Once you're over the age of two, you

do that, which is exactly thesame gesture that means stop.

Don't come any closer.

NARRATOR: Oh, I always thought you were

just being nice to me, Rebecca.


So what have we learned?

We don't like being separatedfrom our friends at weddings.

We don't like arranging get togethers.

We say we'll meet up and haveno intention of doing so.

And a wave means stay the hell away from me.

Still it's nice to see you.

We really should do this again sometime.

We're looking at those "VeryBritish Problems" that cause

havoc with our friendships.

In the good old days,communicating with our friends

meant making a bit of an effort, writing a letter

and poodling to the post box,or even tapping out a telegram.

[inaudible] H-U double B-I-E.

NARRATOR: Nowadays, of course, it's

much easier to keep in touchwith our mates via text.

Texting is the perfect form of communication

for British people.

You can spend ages thinkingabout what you want to say

and word it in different ways.

You can cut and paste and move things around.

It's brilliant.

I never phone people.

I mean the text is a wonderful invention.

It's just one more way thatI can turn all the lights out

and lie under the table and nothave to interact with humanity.

NARRATOR: Here in Britain, we'rethe texting capital of Europe,

sending more messages thanGermany, France or Spain.

And pinging our pals overa billion texts every week.

But of course, being British, we've

managed to turn texting our friends

into a social minefield.

Texting is relatively new.

The rules aren't established.

Do you emoji?

Do you put kisses? I struggle.

I often rewrite texts several times.

Too many exclamation marks.

Not enough exclamationmarks, looks really serious.

That looks like I'm being so formal.

I'll put a kiss in.

I can't-- he's an archbishop.

NARRATOR: In the early days of texting,

messages were limited to characters.

That's almost as many as in "Game of Thrones."

but at least shorter textsmeant we didn't agonize so

much about what we were saying.

I do think we're overworrying, though.

No one's judging us on our texts, right?

I'm very judgemental on texts.

Don't be putting exclamationmarks on everything.

It's like someone saying something to you

and then going--

that's what an exclamation mark is.

Etiquette experts Debrett'shave moved with the times

and published guidelines on how to text.

They advise that one must avoid using

confusing abbreviated text language.

I don't like this LOL thing.

I mean, it's f*cking embarrassing.

Stop pretending you're laughing, first off.

If it's a man, text me LOL, Iwill delete your f*cking number


NARRATOR: It can be such a muddle though.

We heard in the LevesonInquiry that David Cameron used

to sign off messages to hismate Rebecca Brooks with LOL,

thinking it meant lots of love.

It doesn't mean lots of love-- oh no.

But of course, nowadays the standard sign

off for your friends is a kiss.

A kiss has become a full stop now, isn't it?

Yeah, [inaudible].

And see, it's the new alternative

to yours faithfully.

My theory on the kissing,putting a kiss on texts,

is put it on all of them.

I put kisses on the end oftexts to like the plumber.

Hey, mate, all seems fine.

It's flushing great now.


You know when your misses[inaudible] put a kiss.

You're going for f*ck sake.

Once [inaudible] So f*cking,it's an X. It means so much,

doesn't it?

It can be a bit of a sinking feeling

in the stomach, when youlook back on a conversation.

And you realize you've been sending kisses,

and you haven't been getting any back.

And you think does that person--

is that person making a point?

Are they trying to indicate that they

think I'm being inappropriate?

Are they disgusted by my text kiss?

NARRATOR: But if kisses arenow standard for everyone,

how do we end a text to someonewe actually want to kiss?

I think the way to let someone know you

like them is to justslowly increase the amount

of kisses at the end of a text.

Oh, see, I'm a maximum of two.

Well, you don't, yeah, but that's forlorn.

I wouldn't do a double kiss in a text message,

unless I was being terribly forward.

That's practically sexting.

NARRATOR: We Brits maystruggle with our emotions,

but we certainly don'tstruggle with our emojis.

What could be better than asingle tap on a phone screen

to replace having toactually talk to our friends

about our feelings?

Thumbs up, smiley face.

I think a flirty emoji can just--

What's the flirty emoji?

Something like, I don't know--

looking forward to seeing you again.

And then it's like the little monkey

with its hands over its eyes,and it's just like you cheeky--

What does that mean?

It just means I've takenthe time to think about this

and put an image with it to describe my emotion.

You know, the thing that I hate

is the little symbol of the thing laughing,

the emoji laughing.

Because you're not laughing.

I'm not dropping my best material in a text.

And then somebody does that little picture

of the tears coming down.

You're cheapening the whole experience.

NARRATOR: Get with the times, grandpa.

% of to -year-oldssay they'd rather

use emojis than words at all.

In fact, this Japanese phenomenon

is the fastest growing language in the UK,

with % of all Brits regularly using emojis.

But where will it all end?

Getting fired from work?

Sorting out the divorce settlement?

Or your doctor sending you your test results?

Whilst the emoji might bemaking our lives easier,

another recent advancement in texting

is causing us untold anxietyas we wait for our friends

to reply to us immediately.

Yeah, the bubbles arecoming up and you're thinking,

well, OK, they're responding.

And you can stand there for really quite a long time

and the bubbles waiting.

And then sometimes the bubbles just disappear.

The bubbles, after I've senta text, they do make me anxious.

If I've said something whichI didn't really want to say,

and I think oh, golly.This has become real now.

I think the bubbles just create

another layer of social anxiety for us

all that we could do without.

I don't know why.

Why are the bubbles there?

What are the bubbles?

Who decided the bubbles were helpful?

Why though?

Why are the bubbles there?

Seriously, why are the bubbles there?

They're called the dots of doom.

That's when I say to you, hey, why

don't you come over to mine on Saturday

and we'll watch telly together.

And the dots start, dot, dot, dot.

And then they just disappear.

And that means that you were going to reply,

but you couldn't think howto put it into writing.

No, I'm waiting for a better offer.

NARRATOR: Texting-- it came into our lives

to make it easier to keepin touch with our friends,

and we've managed to turn itinto an instrument of t*rture.

Still, maybe the timespent staring at the dots

and waiting for ourso-called friends to reply

gives us an opportunity toreassess our social circle.

I think every year or so you should

look at the group of friends you've got,

and just think who needs to go?

Two of my close circle offriends, now thinking about it,


Why can't we decide it's not working

out, like a relationship.

Go, dudes, do you want to go out this Friday?

No, I don't.

And I don't ever want to go out with you again.

NARRATOR: Surely not everyone feels

that way about their mates.


People get too close that you don't want--

I got quite good sort of pointers, signs,

that they can take on board and back off.

Things like no, why don't you f*ck off

is always quite useful.

NARRATOR: Who would have thoughtthat nice man from "Chariots

of f*re" could be so rude?

Friends-- us Brits don't have that many,

but those we have we really cherish.

And if you are a man, thatmeans pretending you hate them.

We tell people we should go for a drink soon,

and actually mean we neverwant to see them again.

And we love texting our pals because it means

we can avoid human interaction.

Nothing is straightforwardwhen you're British.

But we wouldn't change it for the world.

That's it for this time.

Bye, mate.

See you pal.

Later, buddy.

So long friend.

f*ck off.
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