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American men suffer ‘friendship recession’ with 15% not having ONE close friend

American men suffer ‘friendship recession’ with 15% not having ONE close friend – and the number with at least six plummeting from 55% to just 27%

  • Singletons fare the worse, with one in six reporting not having any close friends
  • Possible reasons for friendship decline include more mobility and longer hours
  • Findings came from the American Perspectives Survey, conducted in May 2021  

American men are experiencing a friendship recession, with nearly one in six not having one close friend, a new poll has found.

The proportion saying they have at least six close friends has plunged by half since 1990 from 55% to 27%, while the number without any at all is up five-fold from 3% to 15%, according to the American Perspectives Survey.

Singletons fare the worse, with one in five reporting not having any close friends. The lack of fellowship unsurprisingly has psychological impacts, with more than half of people with three or fewer close friends saying they felt lonely in the last week. 

Nearly one in five American men do not have a close friend, a disturbing new poll has found

The proportion of American men saying they have at least six close friends has plunged by half since 1990 from 55% to 27%

The proportion of American men saying they have at least six close friends has plunged by half since 1990 from 55% to 27%

Across both sexes Americans report having fewer close friends in 2021 than in the same survey in 1990

Across both sexes Americans report having fewer close friends in 2021 than in the same survey in 1990 

The May 2021 poll also suggests men find it harder than women to develop strong emotional bonds with their existing friends.

Research cited by the National Review suggests women ‘tend to invest more in maintaining their relationships’ than men do.

In a recent interview, psychotherapist Robert Garfield said men tend to ‘stash their friendships away’, reaching out only at infrequent intervals.

‘Many guys say they see or speak to their best friends every two or three years and ”we just pick up where we left off”,’ he said.

Just 59% of Americans have one person they say is their ‘best friend’, down from 77% in 1990.  

The Survey Center on American Life identified several reasons behind the decline in friendship across both sexes. 

Just 59% of Americans have one person they say is their 'best friend', down from 77% in 1990

Just 59% of Americans have one person they say is their ‘best friend’, down from 77% in 1990  

The May 2021 poll also suggests men find it harder than women to develop strong emotional bonds with their existing friends

The May 2021 poll also suggests men find it harder than women to develop strong emotional bonds with their existing friends

First, Americans are marrying later than ever and are more geographically mobile than in the past—two trends that are strongly associated with increasing rates of self-reported social isolation and feelings of loneliness.

Second, American parents are spending twice as much time with their children compared to previous generations, crowding out other types of relationships, including friendships.

And third, Americans are working longer hours and traveling more for work, which may come at the cost of maintaining and developing friendships. Americans are now more likely to make friends at work than any other way.

The study also delved into growing political divisions in the US, revealing that Republicans have more bipartisan friendships than Democrats do

The study also delved into growing political divisions in the US, revealing that Republicans have more bipartisan friendships than Democrats do

The survey found that many Americans are not satisfied about the size of their friendship group, with only half (51%) saying they are very satisfied or completely satisfied with the number of friends they have.

It also delved into growing political divisions in the US, revealing that Republicans have more bipartisan friendships than Democrats do.

A majority (53%) of Republicans say they have at least some friends who are Democrats. 

In contrast, less than one-third (32%) of Democrats say they have at least some Republican friends.  

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