According to a new survey by the Survey Center of American Life, there has been a significant decline in having close friends among Americans, especially men, in the past 30 years.
In 1990, most men (55 percent) reported having at least six close friends, whereas, today, just 27 percent of men say the same.
Also, today, 15 percent of men report having no close friends, a stark difference from the 3 percent of men who reported the same thing in 1990.
While women have also seen a decline in friends, it is not as prominent as men.
Roughly four in ten (41 percent) of women reported having six or more friends in 1990, while 24 percent report the same today. Meanwhile, there was a 10 percent increase in women who said they have no close friends today compared to 1990.
In general, fewer American adults also reported having a best friend today (59 percent) as compared to 1990 (77 percent).
The survey cited the COVID-19 pandemic and Americans marrying later and becoming more geographically mobile as some of the reasons for the decline in friendships. Additionally, American parents are working longer hours and spending twice as much time with their children than past generations.
For young Americans, many are increasingly turning to their parents for emotional and personal support as their friendship circle shrinks.
In 1990, some 45 percent of young men reported turning to close friends for support, Just 22 percent of young men reported the same thing today. Meanwhile, some 36 percent say the first person to call for help is their parents.
The study also found that 53 percent of Americans reach out to their spouse or partner as the first person when facing personal problems. According to an earlier report in Harper’s Bazaar, women are the ones who bear the burden for men’s lack of friendships.
“Men don’t usually put the effort into maintaining friendships once they’re married,” artist Lindsay Johnson told the publication. “The guys at work are the only people other than me that my husband even talks to, so when some of these men retire, they expect their wives to be their source of entertainment and even get jealous that they have a life.”
Photo courtesy: Matheus Ferrero/Unsplash
Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer. He is also the co-hosts of the For Your Soul podcast, which seeks to equip the church with biblical truth and sound doctrine. Visit his blog Blessed Are The Forgiven.