Julie Burchill

The case for culling friends

I've let so many of mine go – and I don’t miss any of them

  • From Spectator Life
Photo-illustration: Coral Hoeren [Getty, iStock]

Since I’m so old – 64 this summer – Facebook has always been my preferred form of social media. But if I was a softer soul there’s a feature on it that might really tug at my heartstrings: ‘See your memories.’ Because many of mine – going back more than a decade – are now blank of any actual memory: ‘Content not available.’

I know what these were: photographs of me with ex-friends (they’d always take the selfies, as I don’t have a camera-phone) who I’ve fallen out with and who have since deleted the photographs. In 90 per cent of cases, I’d say that I was the one who caused the falling-out. 

If I’m being honest, I don’t miss any of them. (Tell a lie: one of them had a disabled badge, meaning that we could park the car I bought her anywhere we liked – right outside restaurants, mostly. I felt like Princess Margaret!) But recently, being the grand old age I am, some of these friends I squabbled with have started dying. It’s a strange feeling to check someone’s Facebook page when you haven’t thought of them in years only to find dozens of sad tributes to them. Although so far it’s been nobody I was particularly close to, it has made me wonder how I’ll feel when people I was once truly good friends with die.

Agony aunts always advise young marrieds not to let the sun go down on an argument – so wouldn’t that be even truer of old friends not letting the final curtain go down on a contretemps? Am I going to feel bad that I didn’t try to make it up with them? Or am I going to think: ‘That was a lucky escape; X was tighter than two coats of nail polish, so it’s unlikely that they’ll have put any cash behind the bar for post-funeral refreshments – muggins here would have been buying the drinks all night!’

‘You’ll end up alone!’ I hear.

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