Punch Bowl’s Guide to Friendship

Local columnist Mike Coyne has a few pieces of friendship advice.

Still trying to make friends on campus? Fear not, freshmen who can no longer stand their NSO “friends” and/or lonely upperclassmen — you just haven’t been asking the right questions. Punch Bowl can help! The truth is, sometimes asking the hardest questions is the easiest way to know who is worth investing your time in. Sure, these questions might seem kind of invasive – that’s because they are! (Congratulations you must have broken a 200 on SAT reading.) But they’ll tell you everything you need to know about any potential new friends.

What was your rock bottom?

Everyone loves an Oprah moment. If they end up in tears, you’re building a strong emotional bond from the outset. Secondly, don’t you want to know what you’re getting yourself into? Someone could be like, “Probably when I was on meth and thought Carly Fiorina was trying to assassinate me because I knew too much.” Or they could be like, “One time I got sick right before a Dave Matthews Band concert and I was distraught.” This way you know you only want to be friends with the first guy. See? You dodged a bullet there. You’re welcome.

What is your most perverse and disgusting sexual craving?

This really tells you a lot about someone and probably how they feel about very specific things (food, household objects?) on an erotic level. You’re also being super cool and potentially allowing someone to express their sexuality non-normatively. Lastly, on a pragmatic level, you might find someone with your…interests. You’re totally circumventing the whole sketchy Craigslist thing, go you!

If you could press a button and kill 5 people anywhere in the world but get free Chipotle for life would you do it?

If they say yes you know they’ll be your ride or die when the Chipotle line seems too long. Obviously a keeper.
Do you know how to best remove blood stains from clothes?

Listen, you just don’t know what’s going to happen when frat bros are walking six abreast on the bridge and you’re just trying to get to class and you JUST GET SO MAD BECAUSE THEY’RE NOT THE ONLY ONES ON CAMPUS…it’s just good to know if your potential new friend has the life skills you want in a friend, ok?

Do you think you’re special for getting into Penn, or have you realized that your existence constitutes less than a nanosecond in the history of man, that you’re barely a speck in the context of our universe…do you feel small yet? So small that you just might disappear, blown away by the winds of time to be forgotten forever save for a crumbling headstone no one will read…

If they haven’t gotten over the self-importance of their admissions decision yet, now they will! This is less of a necessary question for friendship, and more of a public effort to deflate people’s egos. Dean Furda, you started this mess with your whole “most outstanding class ever” spiel: Punch Bowl will finish it.

You still wake up sometimes, don’t you Clarice? Wake up in the dark, the lambs screaming?

If they don’t get this they’re just not worth it. Also, it gives you the rare chance to practice your Hannibal Lector impersonation, or your Anthony Hopkins impersonation, hard to say if they’re entirely different honestly.

Have you ever thought about the fact that our bodies are merely vessels for our souls to animate?

Don’t you want to have friends who are deep?

Do you have your own lifestyle and fashion blog?

If the answer is anything but a confused no, you run for the hills, you hear me?! If they say no but think it’s a normal question, you leave. If they even consider it for a second, you leave. This is for your own good. Do you want to be that one person who your friend is constantly “styling” and taking Instagram pictures of? Huh, do you? You will be the bane of everyone’s newsfeed if you proceed here.

What do you think your conception was like?

It’s always nice to know about people’s family dynamics, it’s telling. Depending on how they answer it you’ll get a good sense of what their relationship is like with their parents, be it inappropriately close, like in Gilmore Girls, or cold and distant. There may be other ways to figure this out, but it’s more fun this way.

What’s your stance on common core?

Math curricula should make sense. Seriously though, from a pedagogical standpoint common core just doesn’t seem like the way to go. Make sure your friends would do what’s best for the daughter you plan to adopt together (Ashley) if you’re both alone by 40. Friends should be in it for the potential long haul.

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