24

Small Talk

November 22, 2021 by Tim

There was a time when our kids played with the friends we gave them. The children of friends of ours, other family, whoever we decided their playdate was with. The kids are old enough now that they’re out in the world making friends on their own, which is great, but it also means I’m being roped into awkward blind dates with other parents in order to facilitate their increased social presence.

Just about all of them are perfectly lovely people, but most often there’s very little common ground with any of them beyond the surface-level stuff. In fact, the more of these fellow adults I meet, the less like an adult I feel myself. Oh, you commute to work wearing a tie and want to casually chat about dividends and weekend fishing trips? Excuse me, I’ll be over here being the guy who sometimes works in his pajamas, drawing silly pictures on the internet. My plans for the evening are either hunting monsters in a late 1800’s bayou, or digital version of a massive fantasy board game I also own a copy of.

It reminds me a little of high school, where sometimes you had to be able to sort of exist in social situations even if you didn’t necessarily feel like you belonged.


Subscribe
Notify of
guest
69 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
TheAyanamiRei
TheAyanamiRei
6 days ago

Ugh. Yeah. I understand this. I remember one time getting together with a group of other minorities like myself and they were just so…NORMAL. To the point of even listening to Lite Rock!! Eugh.

Maybe you could find ways of corrupting the other Dads to get into some video game stuff? Maybe find something accessible like VR or whatever!

Shiva
Shiva
6 days ago
Reply to  TheAyanamiRei

Some of those dads and moms, might be afraid to admit that they do play video games etc?

Freddie
Freddie
6 days ago
Reply to  TheAyanamiRei

ogod – I read that as “listening to The Rock”

Soooo – watching Jumanji?

no thanks nintendo
no thanks nintendo
6 days ago
Reply to  TheAyanamiRei

“accessible like VR”

VR is still incredibly expensive, and makes people motion sick until they get used to it. There’s nothing accessible about it. You have to be heavily committed to it.

Mastacheata
Mastacheata
6 days ago

That’s true, but most “adults” don’t see VR as kids games, whereas PC and console and board gaming still has the stigma of being childish/only for kids.

Urazz
Urazz
6 days ago

Only some people get motion sickness from VR. Some get used to it and others don’t.

coolguy420
coolguy420
6 days ago

You can get a Quest 2 for the same price as an Xbox Series S. A bit anecdotal but nobody I know has been motion sick from it

Jack0r
Jack0r
4 days ago
Reply to  coolguy420

The problem with VR is, that it scales terribly. With a console, others can watch the game for free and adding more players costs maybe €20-30 for additional controllers (at least if you buy knock-offs or used). For VR to add players, you need to buy a whole setup for each player (be that a Quest 2 for a few 100 or a “real” PC VR setup for a few 1000). Also, for each VR player, you need another 4-8 m². Which might not be a problem if you are rich and live in a huge house, but most people… Read more »

TimeViewer
TimeViewer
5 days ago
Reply to  TheAyanamiRei

I’ve been asked by parents about their kids gaming habits, should they worry etc. I usually ask them a simple question, Would you rather they were out doing what YOU were doing at their age? Most are rather emphatic about their “no”. My wife once asked me about my own gaming, I asked her would you rather I was home gaming where you can see me or out in a bar talking with some little hottie? She went out and bought me a new PC

Danaton
Danaton
5 days ago
Reply to  TimeViewer

Sigma chad

TomB
TomB
5 days ago
Reply to  TimeViewer

In high school, my mom realized if our kitchen table became RPG central and she cooked for 4-7 extra mouths multiple times a week, she knew what we were up to and with whom.

My wife got sucked into board games and I got us online for pandemic gaming and turns out she likes it.

TimeViewer
TimeViewer
5 days ago
Reply to  TomB

My wife got into consoles, back in the 80s and 90s she loved arcades of Centipede, Tetris, and with me Smash TV, she tried beating me to the end of Star Fox, came damn close too. In the end she stuck to consoles (God of War) and I to my PC tho she’d talk with my friends online too (they all called her Mrs. Time)

Jack0r
Jack0r
4 days ago
Reply to  TimeViewer

Getting your wife into gaming is a good idea. As long as it’s not MMOs.

If you didn’t have your fill in your teens, where wasting 5-10h a day was no problem, don’t start in your adult life. Had that with an ex of mine. She basically dropped her whole life for Guild Wars. It was quite troubling.

Phaet
Phaet
6 days ago

That’s one reason I don’t have any friends and never wanted to.

leduk
leduk
6 days ago
Reply to  Phaet

that’s sad as fuck

Phaet
Phaet
5 days ago
Reply to  leduk

I don’t see anything sad about it.

dbg
dbg
6 days ago

Tim, was it a conscious choice to not display any signs of social distancing in the last panel because that would subtract from the joke?

Me-me
Me-me
6 days ago
Reply to  dbg

Pretty sure the comic works exported to before or after social distancing was necessary.
Social distancing is context necessary for things set in these plaguetimes – this could even be an AU where China didn’t execute doctors and covid never happened. No need to be persnickety.

evilleet
evilleet
6 days ago
Reply to  dbg

As with any good comic, it stays on the topic stated within the strip.
If Tim decides to do a strip about social distancing and what it means for us gamers who sit in front of a computer or console. then he will clearly state that.
Until then, the comic you see here, works for with the narrative he tries to convey and it will still work in 20 years because the premise will not change.

GraySkye
GraySkye
6 days ago
Reply to  dbg

So, to complain about a make believe social gathering not following the guide lines, you go to a make believe gathering to complain about it?

Why aren’t you following the guide lines?

Robert Loughrey
Robert Loughrey
6 days ago
Reply to  dbg

I work in a hospital and if you walk too slowly past me I’m likely to jab you with a covid vaccine, so I’m certainly pro-precautions, but this is not the place for that comment.

Karrde
Karrde
5 days ago
Reply to  dbg

Covid Commissariat always on the watch. Imma go hug some of my buddies.

Facepalm
Facepalm
5 days ago
Reply to  dbg

Wow they **ed up your mind so bad

MasterofBalance
MasterofBalance
6 days ago

The feels

Gnarph
Gnarph
6 days ago

I know how you feel, but its just for a few years until they out grow structured events like birthday parties and the need to invite all 25 kids in their class. Once that’s over you’ll be taking two or three of your kids’ friends to do some activity for their birthday and you find you once again are able to curate your frienship circle.

Zeshin
Zeshin
5 days ago
Reply to  Gnarph

I never understood why parents set up birthday parties like that. Why would anybody want to waste a day surrounding themselves with a few dozen people who don’t really know you to insincerely celebrate your existence by buying gifts they’re socially obliged to get for someone they might not even really like? It’s a lot of rigmarole for something ultimately lacking substance or meaning, wouldn’t it be better to hang out with a few close friends and family who actually know and genuinely care about you? Or is it just early training for the kinds of soulless networking social functions… Read more »

Scott
Scott
4 days ago
Reply to  Zeshin

I am guessing you don’t have small kids, because this is a very cynical view that sounds like something I would’ve said ten years ago before I had kids. To begin, small kids don’t have “a few close friends.” You personally took years to develop your close friends throughout childhood or whatnot. A kid has only been alive for a few years, and they may have just started school in kindergarten or just entered first grade, and they won’t KNOW who their close friends are. Inviting all the kids in a class is a good way to teach small kids… Read more »

Zeshin
Zeshin
4 days ago
Reply to  Scott

You’re right I don’t have small kids, just going off my own experiences when I was a kid. My parents came from different parts of the Third World and would have raised eyebrows at the strange notion of inviting an entire classroom of kids to come celebrate your birthday (let alone making any kind of big deals about birthdays in the first place, just surviving day to day was a handful), and growing up in different parts of the world nobody in any of the different classrooms I attended whether in the United States, Europe or the Pacific ever held… Read more »

Naomi
Naomi
4 days ago
Reply to  Scott

That may not apply if they’re an introvert (or for other reasons specific to each kid). I would have much rather not had large-scale kid parties planned for me when I was little, but I guess it helps people look & feel like they’re doing their job as a parent, so they do it anyway.

Odell
Odell
6 days ago

Well you do have a unusually special job, so it’s not surprising they can’t relate to you. Maybe try to be less of a badass so the normies can appreciate you.

Mildar
Mildar
6 days ago

You are running your own bussiness. That is god damn interesting for us dads that like stooocks. No worries.

Marcus
Marcus
6 days ago

screw that. they can keep their button down shirts. LETS GO VOLTRON FORCE!

Rolando
Rolando
6 days ago

You can take solace in the fact your job is so cool, while also paying well (I assume). How it fulfills you, and how you achieved it through skill instead of just luck or nepotism. A lot of jobs aren’t like that.

I don’t mean it as a way to act condescending toward them. If they’re nice or at least neutral, it’s ok.

But I do know many of the more structured folks enjoy looking down upon us freelancers. In which case, I bet you can think of plenty of juicy comebacks.

leduk
leduk
6 days ago

I absolutely dont relate, I dont have any friend that speak about that crap, I feel very lucky reading this.

Jack0r
Jack0r
4 days ago
Reply to  leduk

My crowd recently turned to crypto investing. I am the only one with a technical background and that doesn’t make the situation more bearable.

Kenju
Kenju
6 days ago

Ugh, I feel you man, this was, and IS me to the T. I’m pretty sure I was one of maybe, two or three people in my entire county to have a video game system and literal zero interest in sports back when I was in high school. Now I’m literally the only person where I work under the age of fifty five and who doesn’t talk about or care about stock and the like.

Allen
Allen
6 days ago

Do you know what makes it so much worse? Making small-talk with folks who are both younger than you, more accomplished, and all around more “grown up” than you’ll ever be.

Jacob
Jacob
6 days ago

Missed “Stonks” opportunity there

mcjstar
mcjstar
6 days ago

Pft, ditch those guys. Time to find the parent friends at the tabletop gaming store. Also, Tim, I’m going to need my Voltron t-shirt back please. Thanks.

EMMachine
EMMachine
5 days ago
Reply to  mcjstar

The tabletop gaming store would at least be a place to find me.

I actually found this comic series because of the comics where Ethan and Lucas played Warhammer 40k.

Yoann Pearson
Yoann Pearson
6 days ago

I have this with my neighboors. Hey how about we do a BBQ with all the neighboorhood! We’ll all be friends… So did you see that display last night in SportsBall? it was ludicrous! *sigh*

Del Cox
Del Cox
6 days ago

The freaky thing is I remember the Tim in the second panel, or what must’ve been close to it.

Rolan7
Rolan7
6 days ago

Nice Fallout t-shirt in the first panel! Remember how obsessed Ethan was with Fallout 2? Classic.

TimeViewer
TimeViewer
6 days ago

I’m 63 and yeah we had 3 cliques, jocks, brains, and freaks. Very, very, very few of them played video games, arcades were illegal in my city until the 80s due to 1920’s anti-gambling laws, I had to go outside of the city to play arcades. Even now I get the blank looks when I bring up video games to anyone my age, up until I started playing ESO I was usually the oldest (met ppl in their 80s there). Now the people I use to know sit on their porches getting one day closer to death, while I sit… Read more »

lechuckGL
lechuckGL
5 days ago
Reply to  TimeViewer

That’s my plan for when I get old

Carl Schmidt
Carl Schmidt
6 days ago

Social Chameleon… I get it 😀

Nick
Nick
6 days ago

Almost all of the parties I went to after about 7th grade were LAN parties. At least until college and the college parties were significantly more boring than any of the LAN parties from my youth. Just a bunch of drunken idiots that had to drink because there was nothing else to do there.

leduk
leduk
5 days ago
Reply to  Nick

you can drink at lan parties, you know that? we make our own beer and then we drink it while playing some warcraft 3 tower defense. Good times!

Szczepan
Szczepan
6 days ago

Are those grandparents? Usually you’re in your thirties when the kid turns 5.

Logan
Logan
5 days ago
Reply to  Szczepan

Not everybody has kids at the same age.
Not everybody ages at the same rate, either.

Have seen plenty of greying-to-bald guys in their 30’s. Just depends on the kind of life they lead, and how much stress is envolved. And genetics.

Kevin Greenbaum
Kevin Greenbaum
5 days ago

I never really liked the social thing, but I would definitely match the first panel. Now my struggle isn’t so much sports/stocks as it is politics and cars. And I still have extremely limited knowledge for it and just sort of smile and nod at the words I recognize the meaning of. Thankfully I’m a huge lover of music, and that’s a very easy fall back for conversation if I can get the ball rolling.

Last edited 5 days ago by Kevin Greenbaum
Eldest Gruff
Eldest Gruff
5 days ago

Panel 2.5 is clearly Tim sitting in front of a computer, saying “Maybe I should make some sort of comic about the things I like… and then, they’ll talk about the things I want to talk about! Brilliant!”

Cori Davis
Cori Davis
5 days ago

Someone once asked me, “Why are our friend networks so much younger than us?” To which I replied, “The culture changed. When we were in high school, videogames were still getting popular. The Playstation just came out our Sophmore year of high school and people were just discovering RPGs. Dungeons and Dragons was still taboo only for ‘geeks and ‘tards’. Anime was ‘that stupid japanime shit.'” Now just about everyone plays videogames, everyone watches anime, and many, many of them have even played some form of pen and paper RPG. It’s still hard for me to relate to most parents… Read more »

GlitcherGirl
GlitcherGirl
5 days ago

As a female, gamer, grandmother….I feel this on so many levels. Heck, it still trips me up when I’m talking to a 30 something and they’ve never played a video game. You grew up in the era of amazing gaming advancements, how did you miss that?

Volguus
Volguus
5 days ago

Videogames!
Stonks!
Gamestonks!

This is proof that on rare occasion there’s a middleground that everyone can talk about, and in that space, that place of unpredictable neuroplasm, amazing things can happen!

Number51x
Number51x
5 days ago

1000% relatable.

Vicente Sampedro Burgos
Vicente Sampedro Burgos
5 days ago

In my case is mostly Politics, but I’m happy to have a friend to discuss history and sci-fi and her wife is well versed in anime and video games. I’m happy they adopted an introvert like me.

Last edited 5 days ago by Vicente Sampedro Burgos
Mirra
Mirra
5 days ago

Luckily, I ended up as a software developer so even in work there are a lot of geek to talk with about games. And when it comes to friends, we are lucky to have the modern technologies to connect us. We have a Facebook group and we can talk about games and nerdy stuff all the time. It’s like night and day compared to my youth where my schoolmates laughed at me and all that I could talk with was my brother…

Death Knight
Death Knight
5 days ago

*sigh*, I relate SO damn much… I’m a button down worker, so not a free spirited artist like yourself, but I get so exasperated at having nothing in common in these situations.

Between the 0 relatability to sports and the disgustingly prevalent misoginy in the conversations, I end up just stuffing my face with whatever food’s available to avoid conversation.

Is there some secret cabal of nerd dads out there that I’m not aware of and could join?

Esselon
Esselon
5 days ago

For a while I was in a relationship with a Harvard MBA. Spent a weekend with a bunch of her Harvard MBA classmates once. They were all nice enough people but good god all they wanted to talk about was work. Also none of them were really doing anything that remotely benefited larger society in any way. Happy I don’t have to deal with that segment of society anymore.

lechuckGL
lechuckGL
5 days ago

Love the t-shirt !

Jesse
Jesse
4 days ago

The easiest small talk is just about your kids; everyone there has kids. “What are your kids into these days?” “What are you doing for the holidays?” “What are you getting them for christmas/hannukkah etc?” “My kids are in drama and swimming clubs, what about yours?”

This is coming from a gamer who is also a metalhead, so I have veeeeery few things that identify with “regular” people. Just talk about the kids and then you can link that to humorous stories regarding Amazon deliveries or whatever else you do share with the others you’re speaking to.

Crestlinger
Crestlinger
4 days ago

Bring out the DnD books and offer to DM. Someone is going to want to roll initiative on the matter if only to be Doing something.

Marty Hartwick
Marty Hartwick
4 days ago

I’m not sure I can really relate to the comic. As an adult now, my friend circles are all from hobbies I have, mostly Tabletop Wargames and Magic. I’d never choose to spend time with people who I only have superficial conversations with. Sounds like a nightmare lol. We are adults so can choose who we spend our time with, no?

Brian Jones
Brian Jones
4 days ago

Were the the guys standing around in the first panel suppose to be the same in the last panel but just older? If so why is the spooooorts guy white in first than black in 2nd?

Jack0r
Jack0r
4 days ago

Toss in some Crypto in the conversation (where you are the only one with a developer background and actually understand, but don’t care about, what they are saying)…

Ace5762
Ace5762
4 days ago

Guy on the right went through some changes after college huh

Roborat
Roborat
1 day ago

I feel your pain. I have always been a hardcore PC gamer (well, started with Amiga, changed over to PC when it died), got my kids hooked as well. I am nearing retirement, and still play. I do the “stock” thing, but I give my money to a stock expert, and let him worry about that, while I merrily continue to game with my now grown kids and friends.

NoName
NoName
1 day ago

You forgot politics.