Status anxiety

The day I stopped believing in the friendship myth

Only four out of ten pals turned up for my stag do, not including the ‘best friend’ who organised it

4 June 2016

9:00 AM

4 June 2016

9:00 AM

Should we be surprised that friendship isn’t always mutual? That is one of the findings of a team of researchers at Tel Aviv University who’ve just published a paper in an academic journal. They asked several hundred students to identify which members of their peer group they considered to be ‘friends’. On average, half the people included in this category by each respondent did not feel the same way about them.

According to the researchers, this news would come as a shock to most people. The students in the survey thought that 95 per cent of the people they regarded as ‘friends’ would identify them as ‘friends’ too. But I can’t say I’m surprised. In fact, a 50 per cent reciprocity score strikes me as suspiciously high. The researchers cite another friendship survey in which the score was only 34 per cent. That seems about right to me.

I haven’t always been so cynical. Before I got married, I was a fully signed-up member of the friendship cult. Like many young men, I regarded my close friends as a kind of substitute family, with all the accompanying ties and responsibilities. If one of them was in trouble, you did everything in your power to help them and if you were in trouble you could expect the same of them. As far as I was concerned, we had a lot in common with the Mafia, save for the need to do something unspeakable before you were admitted. Loyalty was the supreme virtue, with any other quality coming a distant second.

It was on my stag weekend 15 years ago that the scales fell from my eyes. There were about ten people I placed in the innermost circle — my own personal Cosa Nostra — and I invited them all to Malaga a week before I got married. Or rather my best friend invited them, having volunteered to organise the trip. He promised a whistle-stop tour of the most glamorous nightclubs in Marbella and enlisted the help of a well-connected local DJ to smooth our passage. I didn’t think of this as an opportunity for a final blowout with my nearest and dearest, since it didn’t occur to me that I’d be seeing any less of them after I got married. Innocent that I was, I thought of marriage as adding another person to my intimate circle rather than the substitution of one for the other.

I experienced a brutal reality check when only four of the ten honoured guests appeared at the Spanish hotel on the Friday evening. The no-shows included my best friend, the organiser of the festivities. He left a message on my phone explaining that he’d been held up by an ‘emergency’ and might be a few hours late — needless to say, he never made it — but he’d fully briefed another member of the group and he was more than happy to take the reins. Unfortunately, that ‘friend’ didn’t materialise either. We ended up spending the first night in an ‘English pub’ watching West Ham lose 2-0 to Leeds United.

The low point was the ‘activity’ on the Saturday – a scuba-diving trip to some local caves which my best friend had persuaded me to pay for on the understanding that everyone would pay me back. They might have, too, if they’d bothered to turn up.

In the event, only three of us made the trip, with the other two refusing to get out of bed for the early morning start. It made no odds anyway, because the scuba instructor decided to cancel the dive at the last minute on account of the heavy rain. He gave me a partial refund but kept the deposit, which, if memory serves, was around £500.

As we puttered back to shore in the leaky fishing boat, the rain lashing our wetsuits, I had a moment of clarity. My belief in the unbreakable bonds of friendship was a sentimental illusion. The true test isn’t when you’re in trouble — it’s relatively easy to stand by your friends in their hour of need, although, come to think of it, plenty of my friends have failed that test, too. It’s whether they’re prepared to inconvenience themselves for your benefit, particularly if it involves getting on a plane and shelling out a few hundred quid. Turned out 60 per cent of the people I regarded as my closest friends weren’t.

In retrospect, it was a good lesson to learn just before getting married. After that, whenever there was a conflict between loyalty to Caroline and loyalty to my friends, I was never in any doubt about who came first.

Will Britain vote to leave the EU? Can the Tories survive the aftermath? Join James Forsyth, Isabel Hardman and Fraser Nelson to discuss at a subscriber-only event at the Royal Institution, Mayfair, on Monday 20 June. Tickets are on sale now. Not a subscriber? Click here to join us, from just £1 a week.

Toby Young is associate editor of The Spectator.

Show comments
  • davidshort10

    Asking friends to spend however many days it was in Marbella or anywhere else that involves a plane trip and expense is too much to ask of friendship. Some of them might not have been able to afford it, either the money or the time. A simple stag night is all you need.

    • I think they could have had the decency to tell him they couldn’t make it, though. Not just let him go ahead and spend the money making reservations for them, and then just not show up.

      • TO_Ont

        The whole thing seems very badly planned. I find it hard to believe they all promised to come and agreed to let someone make reservations for them and agreed to the dates and everything, and then simply didn’t show up. And that’s extreme enough behaviour I suspect he would have made it very clear if it had been like that.

        I expect they never actually said they’d come, or expressed a vague interest but then later said they couldn’t.

        He isn’t talking angrily about a lack of communication. He seems mad they didn’t come.

  • polidorisghost

    Yup, if you really have a best friend it usually turns out to be a woman.

  • Teacher

    It is the foreign stag do culture which is at fault. Why not have an evening at the pub with your best mates?

    • Edward Mullan

      Totally agree with you. I have declined to go on stag weekends of two of my close friends for this reason. I still count them as close friends, but I would rather be able to take my kids on holiday.

    • It’s what I did. I insisted that everybody wear mourning black.

  • Fairly Educated Scot

    Toby Young surprised to learn his “friends” don’t actually like him.

    • Tamerlane

      Jeez. How long did it take you to come up with that one Einstein?

      • John Smith

        Slow learner

      • gunnerbear

        Well FES is a Scot and only fairly educated…. 🙂


    I got married overseas. All but one of the people I invited to my wedding/stag made it (and he was completely broke and going through a messy divorce that meant he couldn’t go anywhere). Two of the guys on my stag had to come over from the US.

    Maybe you’re just a bit of a Billy No-Mates?

    • jeffersonian

      ‘Maybe you’re just a bit of a Billy No-Mates?’


  • recklessmonkey

    I never knew I’d have so much in common with Toby Young’s ‘Friends’.

  • Albedo12

    Juggling Just a Myth, Reveals Man Sitting on his Hands

  • Grotesque

    Surely friendship would recognise that not everyone is always able to commit time or finances to something as indulgent as a week long stag do?

    • Friendship would expect those unable/unwilling to politely decline the invitation.

      • Grotesque

        We’re not given much detail, are we? The idea that you’d organise a stag trip, not discuss it in detail the week before, with the expectation to meet in the hotel bar doesn’t feel like it rings particularly true.

  • Bumperoo

    It would appear most of them opted to remain….

  • Lindao01

    It’s sad and disappointing to have had your stag turn out like that. In general I think it’s a bit much to expect people to go abroad for you. They only have so many holidays from work in a year. Their own bills and family have to take priority. I wonder if your stag was at the upper end of stags age wise. I’ve noticed amongst friends that hen parties from age 21 to 28/29 had the most participants. After that it has got less and less. Your attitude is a little childish and immature about the whole thing, seems like you are throwing your toys out of the pram. These people are grown ups with grown up commitments.

    • #toryscum

      My friend had his stag do in Nice (i know), we’re all late 20’s… Trying to balance out spending £1,000 on a weekend vs my obligations to a close friend was a moral quandary.

      • gunnerbear

        Save the money…get ’em a decent wedding present instead and still save yourself £750 (and you’ll look good with it at the wedding…)

      • Brian Jones

        £1,000? Many people don’t spend that much taking their family away for a holiday . Stag dos like that are simply boasting.

  • Georgina Kaye Wilks

    Honestly, profoundly, sincerely, thank you for writing this. I’ve cut ties with so many people that – five years ago – I would’ve sworn under oath I’d be friends with forever. My moment of clarity with my ‘best friend’ was having her turn up at my family Christmas – presents awaiting her and her children, food at the table, alcohol in the fridge – to not so much as a card, or a token gift for my daughter. The reality that I’d created the monster who took without question overwhelmed me. And of course when sincerely but bluntly confronted, her earnest apology was the beginning of her retraction from the friendship.

    It’s frankly nice to know that while I still have a few friends who I still consider true, the majority have fallen by the wayside. And that’s okay.

  • Usget

    All my mates are getting married over the course of the next couple of years. I’ve been invited to six stag parties. In total these will cost me more than £1500 to attend, and that figure is kept from being still higher by the fact that all bar one have been in England.

    Save for one or two of my nearest and dearest, if any of them had organised a stag in Malaga I’d have regretfully declined their kind invitation. This wouldn’t make me consider them any less of a mate, but I’d hope that they’d understand that I do have at least an aspiration of keeping a small amount of both my disposable income and my annual leave for my own purposes.

    If, on the other hand, they declared as a consequence that “friendship was a myth” and that I wasn’t a proper friend… I probably wouldn’t bother attending the wedding either. But none of my mates would do so because they are not Toby Young.

  • Andrew R

    Maybe you’re just a horrible person. Well, there’s no maybe about that – I mean that maybe that’s the problem.

  • Klint

    Organising a stag do overseas is asking for disappointment. Your friend had way too much faith in other people (and himself, it seems) to put that much effort in making the trip.

  • Chris White

    Toby you are not wrong.

  • mickey667

    Dear God this is tragic. Most mates do turn up to stag do’s Toby. Most friends are not like your friends.

    I think you need to re-read what you’ve written, check your self awareness monitor, critically assess the evidence you’ve brought to bear on the (friends don’t exist thesis) and then delete the article and go for a cuddle.

  • mickey667

    My stag do was great and everyone came.

    • jeffersonian


    • John Smith

      Must have been the activities

  • Rarren Dunne

    lmao An old saying comes to mind: “If everybody at the part says you’re drunk, lie down.”

  • danielflugt

    According to wikipedia, was in his late 30’s when he got married. Assuming his mates were of the same age, I’m surprised anybody even showed up.

    “Hey guys, take out a week of calendar to celebrate me! It’s gonna be mental, we’ll be going to sunny Malaga… Well, it’s usually sunny, but it’ll be raining when we’re there. Oh, and you’ll be paying for the scuba-diving”. Considering the deposit was £500, it sounds like it wasn’t exactly cheap either. Not to mention all the other stuff, which I am guessing Young didn’t pay for (seeing he didn’t complain about it in the article).

    Helping out a fellow human who’s in trouble should be a given, friend or not. It’s something different asking them to take out their a week of their life to go on holiday without their families. Also, it’s almost been 15 years and he’s still not over it.

    • Ade

      Um, he says “stag weekend”…

      • Bubs

        Well, that’s different then. How dare any of them not fly to Spain for him. After all, they were his own personal Cosa Nostra. Bellend.

        • That’s fair enough, but why didn’t they inform him in advance that they would be unable to make it, before he spent a shedload of money on them? Had they suddenly been struck dumb, accompanied by sudden loss of memory of how to write an e mail, that they couldn’t say, “Sorry mate, I’d love to, but I’m just not going to be able to. All the best.”

          By anybody’s standards, telling somebody you’ll join him, knowing he will then spend a significant sum as a result, and then not cancelling but just failing to appear, is deeply inconsiderate.

          • Brian Jones

            Or why didn’t he check if they’d be going before booking anything , that seems the sensible way.

        • Ade

          Twice, danielflugt says “week”. He is wrong both times. That part of his argument is invalid. Sphincter.

      • danielflugt

        Sorry, so it does! My bad, I must’ve read “I invited them all to Malaga a week before I got married” as “… for a week before I got married”. Honest mistake; My initial point still stands though. 🙂

    • It’s ten years since a quarter of the people who said they’d come to my wedding reception didn’t, and yes, you bet I’m still not over it. If they didn’t want to come, there was nothing to stop them politely declining the invitation. What still annoys me is not their failure to turn up to a party, but that they did so in the full knowledge that I’d spent a substantial sum on them because of their assurance that they’d be there (at the start of my marriage, when you really don’t want to be taking on more debts than you absolutely have to) and that didn’t concern them remotely.

      What’s more, none of them had the decency to apologise afterward. So yes, I totally understand Toby’s ongoing irritability.

  • Jon Stone

    This explains everything.

  • Ade

    Wait to see who turns up to your 50th birthday…

  • Unterwasser

    This from the man who wrote, ‘how to lose friends and alienate people’. What goes around comes around.

    • Oh dear. For a moment, I thought you were going to suggest that perhaps he had something to learn about relationships. But no, just a sanctimonious, karma-based platitude that I don’t doubt you yourself think is basically nonsensical.

      • Iain McGuire

        It’s not really nonsensical though, is it? Given the evidence that his best man and most of his friends failed to either turn up, or decline an invitation to his stag do.

  • Chris_NUFC

    Toby, count your blessings. At least your wife turned up to marry you.

  • Bommius Maximus Optimus

    The problem with a moment of clarity like that, it can quickly become a self fulfilling prophecy.

  • Tamerlane

    If you will expect people to spend a grand or so on your stag.

    • I’d expect them to politely decline the invitation.

  • Sid Falco

    Clubbing in Malaga ffs – they were probably scared that an old-looking slaphead like Young wouldn’t get past the bouncers and they’d end up watching “footie” with toothless cockneys and scousers in some hellish theme pub.

  • Ipsmick

    You must contemplate the probability that you don’t have friends, merely people prepared, in the short term, to tolerate your presence. Sorry.

  • Michael H Kenyon

    These “paint the town red” fantasies never work unless your pals are wealthy extroverts unburdened by insight or responsibilities and you are similar. It’s even sadder in someone past their early 20s. You walked into the punches there. Clubbing is rubbish, as is having your head down a toilet, holding on as the ‘helicopters’ circle your bed (for whatever reason), and walking around as a gang at 2am trying to find something to do. As for those who go to strip clubs or whoring in Amsterdam… desperate. Have you looked at the people who do that sort of thing? Not exactly aspirational, are they?

    • Alex

      So what should you do for a stag night?

      • Enoch Powell


      • Michael H Kenyon

        It is perfectly possible to have a good meal and a few drinks in congenial company without it getting all Bullingdon. A gastopub with rooms in a market town utilising the private dining room so you can make speeches without annoying other guests worked well for me. Ate well, had a skinful without a hangover, laughed till my sides hurt with dear pals, and no fight in a kebab shop with persons better at fighting than you, or release of significant body fluids other than those in legitimate excretion.

  • deepeekay

    I’d like to join in this discussion, but I have no friends so I don’t know anything about it.

  • licjjs

    I simply would not go to any party I had to pay for.

    • Jack Rocks

      Compulsory merriment. I can’t think of anything worse.

  • eu_leave

    you probably only make one in your lifetime, if you’re lucky (two is very unusual).

    • fojap

      That’s what my grandfather used to tell me when I was growing up. After several moves, I learned who that one friend was – and I consider myself lucky to have one.

      Too bad it wasn’t the husband.

      • Father Todd Unctious

        Whose husband was it?

        • Landphil

          Steady now, Toddy.

    • Brian Jones

      The only lifelong friends I made, and I’m 78, are a few I made while in the army but I didn’t expect them to spend loadsa money at my stag do.

  • james page

    You still had 3 or 4 mates that did turn up and you don’t believe in friendship?! Miserable git.

  • digoridoo

    A wise man (Lord Palmerston) once said: “Nations have no permanent friends or allies, they only have permanent interests.”

    I’ve found that serves me pretty well, as I now consider myself to be sovereign. 15 years ago I lost three of my closest friends, lots of money, my job and my faith in the munificence of human nature. More recently my surviving parent tried to play me off against my wife. The wife won. Another myth bit the dust. Something about blood and water, I believe.

    Rehab took a while but I now enjoy my new life as an island.

    “If you need a friend, get a dog”. Thank you, Gordon, I did just that.

    • gunnerbear

      ‘Nuff Said,

    • 9sqn

      As Obama nicely demonstrated recently.

      • digoridoo

        Indeed. And if Cameron/Osborn had the spine and even a scrap of political nous they’d have taken Obama’s cue (and XI’s for that matter) and be recommending Brexit.

  • AdrianM

    I’m sorry to be a trifle uncharitable but, recognising you, as I do, as a neighbour in our urban-vibe corner of west London, (no, I don’t know you personally, except for a nod and a wink in the park) I have heard that you, allegedly, drink from the pool of self-centredness. True friends are phobic about such things.

    • rosebery

      A considered and measured ‘up yours’ of distinction.

  • Freddythreepwood

    Saw a hen party turn nasty in the Sinatra Bar once. One of them chased another outside brandishing a champagne bottle and threatened to throw her into the oggin. All very entertaining, and we found out why the chicken crossed the road.

    • John Smith

      Bigg Mkt?

  • Rafique702

    You cannot depend on anyone too much, you will be bitterly disappointed.Friends are there for a season and for a reason.The key is to enjoy life and be kind and considerate to others.Never ever expect too much from others and also dont try to solve everyones problems you will be over burdened and what you can but keep going life is a journey until death.Someone who marries you usually will have prepared for the best and the worst with you and will swear under oath never to leave you, but that too cannot be depended on.Also learn to give other people a break, some people do not have the experience, references and nature to be loyal-we all have our own problems. Don’t try to be too selective about people in your life there is no perfection.However be that person who recognises the effort and sacrifices other people make to make your life better,return good with good but also know that some people will do a lot for others but it does not necessarily mean you are special, maybe thats just their nature.Above all try to enjoy life be kind and avoid situations and people that may harm your emotional and physical well being…The Christians will tell you that Gods only son was denied by his close friend Peter and then betrayed by Judas whom he was involved in ministry with.Uriah was betrayed by his wife Bathsheba, and people blaspheme against God all the time who is understood by Christians to be the creator of the universe..what more a human being.If people are all naturally loyal to you and will stick their necks out for you come what may -then you are greater than God surely.Be thankful that you have the friends you have but also know nothing in life is guaranteed.

    • AodhanOMuircheartaigh

      Thanks, Polonius.

    • rosebery

      That was great up to the first ellipsis.

  • William Matthews

    I cleverly out witted the system. I had one friend, and I married her 17 years ago. Genius move.

    • Landphil

      Now you have no friends.

      • William Matthews

        True. “Billy No Mates”. 🙂

  • Penny Henry

    Toby is correct, the true test isn’t when you are in trouble: The true test of friendship is success.

    • Iain McGuire

      Jesus Christ.

      • Penny Henry

        A couple I knew came from quite different backgrounds. The bride’s father gave them a, freshly decorated, house as a wedding present. While they were away on honeymoon the groom’s friends chose to smear the contents of the kitchen cupboards over the walls.

        • Iain McGuire

          Presumably they broke into the house? I’m not sure what relevance that anecdote has to your point, but rich people behave like arseholes too, on occasion.

          • Iain McGuire

            It’s interesting that you seem to imply that “success” is synonymous with “marrying someone with rich, generous parents”

          • gunnerbear

            “t’s interesting that you seem to imply that “success” is synonymous with “marrying someone with rich, generous parents”” Perhaps for some of the females of the species…….that is exactly the definition of success…..

          • rosebery

            Choose your parents carefully

          • rosebery

            That kind of ‘friendly’ behaviour is certainly nothing to do with wealth, but I read it as their existing house being re-decorated in the couple’s absence, rather than being a new house.

        • Penny Henry

          There has been some confusion in my absence.

          The house was gifted. The friends were holding a key – to keep an eye on the place while the couple were away. At the time the behaviour was certainly attributed to envy as the friends had applied for/were living in social housing at the time. I don’t believe there is a gender bias in thinking that a free house is a ‘head start’ in life.

          It isn’t just about money though. I used this example because it was about a wedding. Someone else I know lucked into a much higher status job. Only one of his longstanding ‘friends’ continued to see him at the weekends.

          Unspoken petty rivalries are normal, and financial or social success, earned or won, can cause resentments that spill into mean actions, even within groups of friends. It is easier to commiserate with failure than share genuine joy in another’s fancy celebration.

  • John Smith

    Put your energy into your family particularly if its a large one

  • J. Everett R.

    Is this author kidding me? You’re pissed because a bunch of people didn’t get on a plane to some Spanish isle? 15 years ago? SOOO glad we declared independence from England after reading this! (PS, no, we’re *not* friends.)

    • Heart of the Union

      You don’t know what you’re talking about. No country has ever declared independence from England. Secondly he isn’t pissed. You mean pissed off. Plus I don’t think that he is pissed off. This is more of tale of disappointment and I didn’t get a sense that it was still disappointed. This is a reflective piece. So you aren’t doing well with history, geography or the English language.

      • antoncheckout

        He might just be a rebellious colonial ex-subject of His Majesty King George. I believe they did make a wild attempt at Independence.
        I’ve no idea what became of them subsequently.

        • dectra

          Oh, we Americans have done little…unless you count saving your Britt backsides twice from your hostile neighbors…

          • 9sqn

            It’s ‘ Brit ‘ . And yes, you did. Thanks.

      • rosebery

        Why are you assuming that English English is the only form of the language. You understood the comment, did you not?

  • Captain Dryland

    It is inconsiderate, unreasonable, and therefore unfriendly, to expect your friends to go to a significant expense of time and money in order that you may indulge yourself with their company. Sounds like Toby started the ‘un-friending’.

    • #toryscum

      So they should have simply said ‘no thanks’, to say yes but not turn up is poor form.

    • rosebery

      In a couple weeks I’ll be going to the wedding of one wife’s younger relatives. I will not have been at such a vulgar display of wealth since the last family occasion from that quarter, when a country house hotel was taken over for the guests. This will be the same, with the addition of a helicopter to record the event from above and a marquee for a BBQ the following day. However, at least all I have to do, apart from be there, is pay for the petrol to get there. If you want ‘friends’ (or ‘family’ for that matter) to indulge you, then you should shell out, i.e. buy them, the way some cultures pay for mourners. If you can’t, you do something that all can afford to be part of, and find out who your friends are.

  • HAL 9000

    Do you know this has gone straight to Get In The Sea?

  • Iain McGuire

    This sounds suspiciously like the friends told the best man they didn’t want to come, and he bottled out of telling Toby.

  • Kav

    The lack of self awareness in this article and the comments below is hilarious. Odious, self-centred people claiming friendship isn’t real because they don’t have any friends.

    A true insight into the dark heart and empty soul of a Tory

    • Ade

      Must explain all those happy, smiling faces we see under the “Socialist Worker” banners…

      • Kav

        *Run automated response “witticism”*
        *find and replace “tory” with “socialist”*
        *search 1980’s reference database*
        *make point tangentially connected to meaning of source comment*
        *adopt smug posture*
        *post comment*
        *runtime program “witticism” complete*

        • says the man who introduced the idea of social skills and personality being linked to party affiliation. What kind of robotic knee jerk moron do you have to be to introduce that into the conversation. Not everything is about politics

          • Kav

            Sir you flatter me but I cannot in all honesty claim to be the man who introduced the idea of linking personality traits with political affiliation. It has been a subject of scholarly interest for many years. Perhaps if you read more and insulted people less you would save yourself from the daily shock of people discussing things about which you have no knowledge.

            I would highlight the irony of “robotic knee jerk moron” in this context but I fear you lack the capability to discover what irony means

          • Not really, you introduced it to the thread in a knee jerk response and then suggested that another poster was running some robotic subroutine to initiate a response in the manner of the Terminator before enunciating “F*ck you”. However, his point re the sad sacks seen espousing various left wing causes deserved a more considered response given your opening position. You also included the line,

            ‘*adopt smug posture*’

            which given your fondness for irony, indicates a staggering low level of self awareness.

            With regard to the ‘research’ you are talking about, I’m vaguely familiar with the Toronto study. The reported conclusions suggested the usual liberal incomprehension of conservative motivations so I naturally presumed it was more effluent from an abattoir of Western thought. I am more interested in work which cuts against the grain of current liberal consensus and entails a level of risk on the part of the researcher, such as Putnam’s work on multiculturalism.

          • Kav

            Oh dear, you really are tying yourself in intellectual knots trying to keep up here. Just to clarify, at first you say politics has no place even being mentioned in a discussion about personality, but then acknowledge you were already aware of a context in which it might be, but which you haughtily disregard because it does not fit in with your pre-conceived notions of how you believe the world should be. To top it off you then invoke Putnam for no apparent reason other than, I assume, to prove you have read something in your life.

            With these two posts you reveal yourself to be a veritable conflagration of cognitive biases. We have self-confessed confirmation bias, selective perception, anchoring, mere exposure, reactance and several more. In only 2 posts!

            I’d put money on you being either a doomsday prepper, a conspiracy nut or at the very least a Trump supporter. Possibly some combination of the three

          • Lol, you really are a car crash of a human being. I’d put money on you smelling of wee, living in your mummys basement and masturbating into her bloomers

            (a) The Toronto study suggested that Tories are friendless sociophobes did it? (b) as i made clear, i don’t accept the thesis anway, it doesn’t explain political conversions, and (c) even if I did, I believe there are human constants, such as the nature of friendship, health, relations with lovers, parents, siblings and children etc, that are universal, which was actually my point here.

            You are the archetypal liberal, consumed with hate, and condescension based on a subjective sense of superiority, incomprehensible to all but yourself
            Knock yourself out in response. Night night

          • Kav

            I was clearly pretty accurate in my previous post given the spluttering rage here.

            You see what I did was take personality traits (specific cognitive biases and prejudices) and assign a pretty accurate political affiliation based upon them. All well and good but I would genuinely like you to consider something.

            Put aside your distaste for me and for 60 seconds just imagine that I am 100% correct in what I am saying. Imagine that you absolutely have the biases I describe, and then think how easy it would be for someone (i.e Trump) to come along and pander to whichever prejudices you had with nothing more than empty rhetoric. With the biases I believe you display he would then be safe to completely contradict himself, safe in the knowledge that you were only hearing the parts you wanted to hear.

            Like it or not, your previous posts showed a high degree of group-think vulnerability which is concerning no matter which side of the largely illusory western political divide you are on

          • water under the bridge. Move on, it’s pointless, we both know that

    • Dr. Heath

      What a shame our Tobes is just not as lovely a person as you are, Kav.

      • Kav

        You mock, yet you will be doing well to communicate a truer sentiment all day

        And I’m not even that lovely

      • supercity

        I’ve never met Kav, yet I instinctively know him/her to be far lovelier than Toby Young.

  • Faff

    This is some fine clickbait and all it cost was any reputation Mr Young might have possessed for reflection and insight. Cheap then.

    • Father Todd Unctious

      He does come across as a bit naive. One would have a very high opinion of oneself to assume eleven friends close enough to commit to several days and several hundred pounds of expense.

  • Jenny Wren

    “I thought of marriage as adding another person to my intimate circle”,,,,sounds a bit 50 Shades to me

  • dissidentvoice

    To all the people who are saying “well he shouldn’t have expected anyone to turn up to such an expensive event anyway etc” – if they didn’t want to come, the decent thing to do is to say so in the first place, which is what friends would do in such circumstances. You can’t agree to go to something then not show, that’s far worse

    • TO_Ont

      To me it isn’t clear if they did or not. Or if he was even involved in the RSVPs, since it sounded like his friend who bailed at the last minute was organizing everything. If they had RSVPd, I would have thought he’d have made a point of mentioning that.

  • ROUCynic

    Didn’t Tobes write a book called “How to Lose Friends and Alienate People”? It would seem that, for once, he wasn’t being economical with the truth!

  • Hoummpty

    Don’t have your stag in Spain and more people will go. Get in the sea.

    • CraigStrachan

      No, Las Vegas would have been the place to do it right.

  • It’s like austerity but for friendship.

  • SadPerson

    Thought provoking article, thanks. I think Toby may be confusing “friendship” with “showing up for things”. One affliction of the modern world is that many people (especially in their 20s and early 30s) can’t be arsed to show up for events. Their thinking is – a bunch of people are coming, it won’t really matter if I don’t show up. The problem is that everyone else has the same thought. If I’d wanted to have 10 people to a stag night I’d have invited 20 (and, obviously, not held it in Spain). Often, the people who do show up aren’t necessarily your closest friends but your most conscientious or kindest ones. After having an experience similar to Toby’s early in life, I didn’t diss my friends but I did make a decision for myself: I’ll go to an awful lot of trouble to show up for something if I’ve said I’ll be there.

  • Mike MacCormack

    Seems to me that Toby Young wouldn’t know the difference between a friend and a fence post anyway.

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    One overlooked advantage of flying the UK coop is that it provides the opportunity to cut yourself loose from that shallow, immature, hedonistic macho-$hit head behaviour that passes for culture. Where the pub has replaced family life, the latest soap drama development is discused in the MSM as if it were reality, football has replaced patriotism, public drunkenness is the acceptable norm, and education and learning are belittled as elitist.
    Britain, a good country to be from, a long way from.
    Jack, the Japan Alps Brit

  • enoch arden

    Friendship is a social phenomenon which can only exist in specified kinds of societies. Personal loyalty is a great merit in a feudal society. In a capitalist society it is regarded as a form of mental disorder. This is not psychology: pure logic. According to the famous games theory result by Morgenstern and von Neuman, any coalition in the market game is inherently unstable. That is, at some moment you will have to betray your partner.

    What are we discussing? The awful features of capitalism?

  • Sid Rumpo

    Nobody really likes you Toby.

  • putin

    I think this is just called growing up.

  • Give our God Immortal Praise

    You pay for your so-called friends to go holidaying in Spain funding their clubbing and scuba diving or whatever and they still don’t show? Ha ha ha, says it all!

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