Life rebooted: why ‘pruning’ friends has been so common during the pandemic

People have become ‘more insular and bonding-oriented’ amid Covid, and now many aren’t sure how to start rebuilding their social lives

Pruning is usually a technique applied to roses in winter, but more recently the gardening term has been cropping up whenever sociologists talk about our social lives. People have been pruning friends.

Confined to our homes, or separated by borders, with too much time gifted to us in isolation, and new ways to communicate online, experts say we’ve unwittingly – or in some cases very deliberately – socially distanced ourselves out of a social life. Some say the silver lining is that we’ve been cured of Fomo, others say it heralds a widening of the already growing loneliness gap. So has everyone Marie Kondoed their mates, and what does this mean for the future of friendship?

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