Tuesday, 8 January 2013


If you have lots of friends you'll live longer, according to a recent survey. It also mentioned orgasms, but I'll just concentrate on the friends thing for now. 

I'm not sure what they mean by a lot. I have about four, (friends that is, not orgasms) so I'm wondering if that's enough. 

I reckon to be popular, really popular, you have to be happy, but to be happy you need to be popular. So there's the rub, as Hamlet might have said, had he cared about such things, which I'm sure he didn't because a.) he had bigger things to fret about, like murder and madness, and b.) he's a character in a play, and did turn out to be a pretty popular anyway; here I am writing about him. 

And that's part of it, isn't it? Not caring. Popular people don't seem to care one way or the other, and that's the knack. 

And have you noticed that the older you get the more you can't be bothered with it? But, because you are old the not caring/ending up popular thing doesn't work because, well, because you're old. 

So, by the time you're, say, my age, for argument's sake, you could have lost a lot of friends along the way, even more than socks, and not really be up to the task of replacing them. And I've lost a lot of socks. 

You could even get quite miserable about it, if you let yourself, and then, because you were miserable, you wouldn't be able to make new friends because who wants to hang out with some miserable old sod? Not that I'm talking about myself here you understand.

But if I were, talking about myself that is, I'd just like to point out that I haven't got loads of friends from way back because there wasn't the technology to keep in touch with people in my day - no mobile phones when I worked in publishing and at the Beeb and as a freelance TV director, and no Facebook. So now, when I google the names of old mates and colleagues, when I can remember them (and I'm not saying I do this, just hypothetically speaking), they're all too old and out of touch to be on there...

Unless they ALL changed their names by deed poll to get away from me because I got old and grumpy, which is possible I suppose. Not that I'm being paranoid or anything. If I did that. Which of course I don't.

And while we are talking about me for a moment I'd just like to say, for the record, that I'd like to be as popular as the next guy, of course I would, but since I'm old now and it would involve lots of effort, which as I say is counterproductive, and I can't be bothered, all that schmoozing and ingratiating and complimenting, I just can't fake it. So that only leaves people I really like, all four of them, or those who have put up with me for so long now that we can sit in comfortable silence together. Or both. And that narrows it down quite a lot. A hell of a lot actually.

I've tried, in the past, you understand, when I had more energy and acting ability, to pick up friends and gather them to me in armfuls, like buttercups. I used to write names and addresses in a flowery Liberty address book (in the days when pens and paper were used for these things) and flick through it looking back at all the ink in there - it would make me feel better, like I really existed, like I was worth something.

But that's not really IT is it? A load of names in a book don't mean nothing. Genuine friendship takes time and commitment and honesty - but mostly time. T I M E. Lots of it. You don't get that from writing someone's name in a book or adding them to your friend requests on Facebook, we all know the real thing when we see it, we read it in the eyes, we're animals after all. I think we can smell sincerity too, we excrete it - like musk.

Anyway, I've been ruminating on this lately because of Twitter - nothing so sure to make you feel insecure and friendless, not that Twitter has got anything at all to do with friends, or popularity, or who you really are - it's all about marketing. And I'm really not the type who should dabble - too needy - but I was persuaded to do so for work and when I got on there, man does it suck you in. 

They're all at it, everyone who's anyone, all the journos I admire and the respected institutions I adore, like the Beeb and the Guardian and the Times and the V & A and Radio 4, the whole bally lot of them, tweeting and twittering and having in-jokes with one another that I don't understand. It's infuriating and intoxicating and totally exhausting. And then you start to watch the numbers...

I only have a hundred followers. Eldest says that's pathetic, as if I need telling. He says Charlie Sheen got a million in 24 hours when he had his nervous breakdown, so I'm working on that. 

And if I keep watching my stats obsessively, as I am at the moment (I had 101 yesterday and woke to only 99 today, two fallen off the bandwagon overnight, why is this? Was it something I said?) and googling old work colleagues, if I did that, I mean, I really don't think the breakdown will be very far off. 

And by the way, I'm @DOESNOTDOIT. Not that I'm asking, or care one way or another, because I have friends. Well, at least four of them.


This blog now has its own Facebook page imaginatively called: I Don't Know How She Doesn't Do It. Please go to Facebook and 'Like' the page if you enjoyed the blog. Not sure the link below works. Thank you.



  1. Oh how I can relate to this! Brilliant piece!

  2. Really? Thanks so much. Shows how much husbands know.

  3. Fair play to you for even going down the twitter path, I haven't got the energy for all that! Great 'column' btw, very much enjoyed. Look forward to reading more. Jen x

  4. Thanks Jen. Seem to have hit a nerve with this one. Very high stats. And nearly didn't post it! E

  5. Loved this. Your 4 friends are very lucky people :) It's weird as everything seems to be the other way round in life. You arent popular because you care. Then when you dont, no-one cares anymore that you dont care. Like being at uni. You have to pay for everything at uni - balls, clubs, social outings etc. When you work and can afford to, you dont have to pay for anything as things re usually on the boss! x

  6. Thanks Lorraine, what a lovely thing to say, about my four friends that is. I'll tell them! E