Jump to content

Do you have close friends?


Randomguy
 Share

Recommended Posts

Close Friends Less Common Today, Study Finds

By Jeanna Bryner, Live Science Managing Editor | November 4, 2011 11:22am ET
 
Close Friends Less Common Today, Study Finds
close-friends.jpg?interpolation=lanczos-none&downsize=*:1400
The number of friends we confide in has shrunk over the past decades, new research shows.
Credit: Martin Novak | Shutterstock

If asked how many friends you have, some may have trouble distinguishing between the lengthy list of Facebook friends and those close pals you confide in. Well, it turns out, Americans' lists of the close type has shrunk to two, down from three confidantes 25 years ago, a new study suggests.

The study also found that the number of us who have zero confidantes, or the socially isolated, has not increased over these decades, as scientists had suspected based on a 2006 study showing a near tripling of Americans' social isolation between 1985 and 2004.

Although this shrinking social network "makes us potentially more vulnerable," said Matthew Brashears, assistant professor of sociology at Cornell University, "we're not as socially isolated as scholars had feared." However, Brashears isn't confident in any of the numbers gathered for social isolation in past studies and the current one, suggesting better methods of getting true numbers are needed.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Friend list

Brashears surveyed more than 2,000 adults ages 18 and older from the nationally representative Time-sharing Experiments for the Social Sciences (TESS) program. The Internet surveys were conducted between April 23 and May 5, 2010.

Participants were asked to list the names of people they had discussed "important matters" with over the previous six months. If respondents said "none," they asked whether this was because they didn't have any important matters to discuss or no one with whom to discuss them in the past six months.

About 48 percent of participants listed one name, 18 percent listed two, and roughly 29 percent listed more than two names for these close friends. On average, participants had 2.03 confidantes. And just over 4 percent of participants didn't list any names.

When Brashears looked closer at that number of socially isolated individuals, he found that 64 percent indicated that this was because they had no topic to discuss, while only about 36 percent had no one to talk to. Turns out, female participants and those who were educated were the least likely to report no names on their confidante list. [10 Things Every Man Should Know About a Woman's Brain]

Shrinking support

Are we becoming hermits? Not quite, according to Brashears.

"Rather than our networks getting smaller overall, what I think may be happening is we're simply classifying a smaller proportion of our networks as suitable for important discussions," Brashears told LiveScience. "This is reassuring in that it suggests that we're not becoming less social."

In fact, research by University of Toronto sociologist Barry Wellman has shown we can be close to and rely on a number of people with whom we don't discuss important matters.

"But it may still be concerning," Brashears added. "Discussion partners provide both emotional support and ideas for how to solve problems, so a shrinking discussion network may lead to more stress and poorer outcomes."

And support does seem to be waning.

Brashears asked participants about a randomly selected friend they had listed, including the types of support that person could provide. Answers included: companionship, a loan of a significant amount of money, and a loan of a significant amount of non-monetary support, such as a place to crash for a while.

"Interestingly, among those respondents who reported only one discussion partner, a number of them reported that their associate would not provide any of these benefits," Brashears said. "This leads me to think that we should be less concerned about social isolation, or lacking any social contact, and more concerned about social poverty, or not having adequate support."

Link to comment
Share on other sites



...back when I still had enemies, I kept them close.:ph34r:  Thus obviating the need for close friends.

 

 

Seriously, I think a lot of the life experiences that once fostered "close" friendships (many involving shared hardships or shared danger) have evaporated in an age of social media unreality and virtual reality. Also, there's nothing quite like utter betrayal to put you off close friends.:(  I hate people sometimes.  .........................................................OK, most times.:blush:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As I get older it's less and less. The few close friends that I had turned into grumpy old men. All they want to do is sit on a bar stool and complain about anything and everything. 

I don't have time for that shit. I have bikes to ride races to run and rocks to climb. 

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, BR46 said:

The few close friends that I had turned into grumpy old men. All they want to do is sit on a bar stool and complain about anything and everything.

My buddy in CO does that, except he doesn't sit at a bar stool all day.  He swims and works out and rides far better than most people, and THEN goes and sits on a bar stool and complains that it sucks getting old.  He says that 8-10 times a day, it is kind of a bummer.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, Square Wheels said:

Nope, just my wife.

 

4 hours ago, maddmaxx said:

Aside from my wife

 

3 hours ago, ChrisL said:

Then of course my wife.

 

3 hours ago, Airehead said:

Yes, one plus Mr. Aire.

 

10 minutes ago, Dirtyhip said:

Of course, my husband is my BF

Your spouses don't count, people, I thought you knew that that was implied.  :blink:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

No close friends, don't want any! I have one and that is Gina.

I really don't trust anyone else much. Not even my mother and father, and especially my brother. :scratchhead:

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

56 minutes ago, Randomguy said:

My buddy in CO does that, except he doesn't sit at a bar stool all day.  He swims and works out and rides far better than most people, and THEN goes and sits on a bar stool and complains that it sucks getting old.  He says that 8-10 times a day, it is kind of a bummer.

Oh they don't workout. Why would you want to workout your just going to die anyway. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Randomguy said:

My buddy in CO does that, except he doesn't sit at a bar stool all day.  He swims and works out and rides far better than most people, and THEN goes and sits on a bar stool and complains that it sucks getting old.  He says that 8-10 times a day, it is kind of a bummer.

...if you need someone to fill that void, now that you're in NYC, I'm here for you, buddy.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

...one of the things that sucks about getting old is how you feel about air travel in the 21st Century. :mellow:  I used to :wub:  to fly places, and would set off on some adventure to a new place at the drop of a hat whenever I got tired of some job I was working.  Now, the idea of sitting on an airplane in the space allowed on commercial air carriers for the time it takes to go across the country makes my nuts ache.:(

 

The last time I flew anywhere they made us take our fucking shoes off to go through security.  That shoe bomber guy, I guess.  One guy tries to blow up his plane and fails, and suddenly you have 20 million people standing around in their stocking feet on a cold airport terrazzo floor.  Not many things that are important enough to me to subject myself to that kind of nuttiness.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Can you count sisters?  I'm probably closest with my sisters since I see them the most and we get along very well.  Beyond that I've got 2-3 close friends that I stay in touch with, but they don't live right near me, so I don't see them as often.  But if I wanted to do a spontaneous activity on a weekend, I'd probably call one of my sisters.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Really just one, and we are drifting apart since we live aboot 40 miles apart and don;t work together any more and he is busy with a large family - he has a whole house full of boomerang kids. :D

But like LJ says, having male friends is ghay anyway (NTTIAWWT), so I have my canine best buddy Ruby and a few imaginary friends. :D

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...