There is nothing quite like having a good friend by your side. For some people, friends are a dime a dozen and for others, it may be one particularly close friend that they trust with everything.
Although the benefits of friendship are well-known, it seems as if many men are suffering from what is being called a “friendship recession.”
This is due, in part, to an uptick in loneliness associated with the pandemic but it also runs much deeper. As it turns out, it’s a very common issue because about one out of every five men in America does not seem to have even one close friend.
This epidemic of loneliness was brought out in a survey on American life. According to the stats, the number of American men that are now living without a close friend has seen an increase from 3% to 15% since 1995. Perhaps an even more stressful number is that the number of men who claim to have at least six close friends has been sliced from 55% down to 27%.
Although the study focused mainly on men, it is also interesting to note that only 59% of all Americans, both men and women, can identify somebody as being a best friend in their life. In 1990, a similar poll found that the number was 77%.
The number is particularly alarming because, in America, you are more likely to be satisfied with life when you have more friends. Back in 1990, 33% of those who were polled said they had 10 or more friends that they would consider to be close friends.
In a more recent poll, the number was cut to 13%. This would mean that fewer Americans are satisfied with the friends that they have.
Although in America, more than 60% of all people say that they feel lonely according to a study by Cigna health insurance, men tend to be lonelier than women.
Even when a man does have a close friend, they are less likely to get the emotional support they need from them compared to their female counterparts. Then again, if they have a female friend, they do get additional emotional support.
Adaptive Behavior and Psychology published an interesting study that showed how men tended to develop friendships differently than women. With men, close friends tended to share similarities associated with activities, such as being in the same social circle. For women, however, the quality of the relationship mattered more than anything else.
Although the numbers are interesting, it is what is behind them that perhaps tells the larger story. For example, an increase of 47% in young adults who had suicidal thoughts has been seen between 2008 and 2017, according to a study by the American Psychological Association.
There have been a lot of changes over the past 20 years or so, including in the way that we connect with each other and how our culture is moving. It’s not just the pandemic, it’s the fact that people tend to be less involved with their marriage, their work, and even their religion. Let’s just hope that this is one epidemic that eventually disappears.SKM: below-content placeholder