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Thread: Americans' circle of close friends shrinking

  1. #1
    Hit By Ban Bus! AliceInWonderland's Avatar
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    Default Americans' circle of close friends shrinking

    omg this is sooooooo true!



    Americans' circle of close friends shrinking

    By Amanda Beck



    Americans are more socially isolated than they were 20 years ago, separated by work, commuting and the single life, researchers reported on Friday.

    Nearly a quarter of people surveyed said they had "zero" close friends with whom to discuss personal matters. More than 50 percent named two or fewer confidants, most often immediate family members, the researchers said.

    "This is a big social change, and it indicates something that's not good for our society," said Duke University Professor Lynn Smith-Lovin, lead author on the study to be published in the American Sociological Review.

    Smith-Lovin's group used data from a national survey of 1,500 American adults that has been ongoing since 1972.

    She said it indicated people had a surprising drop in the number of close friends since 1985. At that time, Americans most commonly said they had three close friends whom they had known for a long time, saw often, and with whom they shared a number of interests.

    They were almost as likely to name four or five friends, and the relationships often sprang from their neighborhoods or communities.

    Ties to a close network of friends create a social safety net that is good for society, and for the individual. Research has linked social support and civic participation to a longer life, Smith-Lovin said.

    People were not asked why they had fewer intimate ties, but Smith-Lovin said that part of the cause could be that Americans are working more, marrying later, having fewer children, and commuting longer distances.

    The data also show the social isolation trend mirrors other class divides: Non-whites and people with less education tend to have smaller social networks than white Americans and the highly educated.

    That means that in daily life, personal emergencies and national disasters like Hurricane Katrina, those with the fewest resources also have the fewest personal friends to call for advice and assistance.

    "It's one thing to know someone and exchange e-mails with them. It's another thing to say, 'Will you give me a ride out of town with all of my possessions and pets? And can I stay with you for a couple or three months?" Smith-Lovin said.

    "Worrying about social isolation is not a matter of nostalgia for a warm and cuddly past. Real things are strongly connected with that," added Harvard University Public Policy Professor Robert Putnam, author of "Bowling Alone," a book on the decline of American community.

    He suggested flexible work schedules would allow Americans to tend both personal and professional lives.




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  2. #2
    Elite Member Sojiita's Avatar
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    Default Re: Americans' circle of close friends shrinking

    I can sure relate to this article

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    Hit By Ban Bus! AliceInWonderland's Avatar
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    Default Re: Americans' circle of close friends shrinking

    yeah i kno me too, i'm such a loner but everytime i extend a hand of friendship i get kind of burned in one way or another so i stop caring after a while. i don't kno, i can go on and on about it, but ... it sounds more depressing than the reality of it.

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    Elite Member LynnieD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Americans' circle of close friends shrinking

    I too can completely relate. Its so weird that the older I get, the harder it is to make friends and then actually continue to LIKE them. It's not like we're stuck on the playground at school in a confined place and almost HAVE to make friends....now you have to kind of hustle yourself out there and see if anyone's interested then make the leap of possibly getting to know them better, etc etc. ITS FREAKING HARD.
    And honestly, computers are probably NOT helping things. I mean, I end up on the computer instead of making friends or doing things w/potential friends.

    Sigh...cannot win.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Americans' circle of close friends shrinking

    I can relate to this article. All I hear is how busy everyone is, that emailling one another has become away of keeping in touch instead of getting together. I suppose I should be thankful I do get the odd email now and again.

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