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Why do relationships crumble so quickly in today's world?

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PING! There goes my inbox again. It’s an email from my old school friend, Jenifer.

"When are we finally meeting for that coffee?" she asks. "I’d love to see you before I leave for Canada!" You see, at that moment, I realised that Jenifer is one of the only friends I have left that genuinely makes an effort to see me, or to ask how I am. And she lives on another continent.

Over the years, I’ve had more friends than I care to remember; I’ve attended hundreds of birthday parties, weddings, beer-fuelled dinners and evening get-togethers. So, imagine my surprise when, on New Year’s Eve, I switched on my iPhone to discover just two messages wishing me a Happy New Year.

But friendships crumble, disintegrate even. The days of catch-ups and pub suppers are gone. Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are taking over our lives and real conversations are a thing of the past. Then again, social media sites prey on the vulnerable, don’t they? Take one friend, Malcolm, who was my close friend throughout university. We socialised by hanging out at 80s bars, falling about laughing over daytime television and tacky Derby pubs. I lent him money to pay of a debt, which he tearily claimed was because his student loan had been cut.

Roll on two years, his money problems have disappeared and so has he. He didn’t call, email, nothing. The shocking, hurtful truth became apparent: he didn’t care about me or my life, just himself. I haven’t spoken to him since.

Another friend, Andrew, cut me off after I chose to work for a local newspaper in Derby, claiming that all journalists were "reprehensibly evil." Bewildered, I rang him to demand to know he deleted me from Facebook and chose to write obscene language about me all over his Twitter feed. I was utterly shocked by his reaction: "You deserved it because you’re a reporter now."

A friendship like that just wasn’t made to last. Which is why I have no regrets whatsoever whenever I cut ex-friends out of my life. I am reminded of the old saying, "why swim oceans for those who wouldn’t jump puddles for you?" For the past seven years, I have made too much effort buying friends in a vain, desperate attempt to force them to like me. I’ve even been known to buy cashmere jumpers, Rolex watches and car insurance for old chums, just to impress them with my vanity.

But now I look back on my own stupidity, and shudder. Why on earth would I bother to impress people who simply haven’t got time to send me a message? I have a small selection of close friends now who respect me for who I am, and vice versa. Forget the expensive presents and loans, real friendships are about real people. Not those simply looking for a loan. 





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