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The Friendship Recession

This website will list all the recent articles I can find which mentioned the so-called “friendship recession.”

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Friendship Recession: How to meet new friends: News4Jax by Ivan Newswire (July, 2023)

Recent research shows that the pandemic and social media both caused people to become “rusty” when it comes to making friends and creating emotional bonds. But there are ways to forge new friendships and infuse your life with a renewed sense of purpose and joy.

The friendship recession is a problem for the common good: U.S. Catholic by Meghan J. Clark (July, 2023)

Despite the ubiquity of social media and the language of connection, Americans struggle to build friendships. As a society, we are plagued by loneliness. In “Our Epidemic of Loneliness and Isolation,” the United States surgeon general details the health effects of social isolation and lack of community connections. The decline in friendship correlates to declining health outcomes across the population. “Lacking social connection,” the health advisory notes, “can increase the risk for premature death as much as smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day.” Social isolation and loneliness have been publicly debated for almost 25 years, since Robert Putnam’s Bowling Alone (Simon & Schuster), yet the problem grows.

My husband never sees his friends – he’s part of the male ‘friendship recession’: UK by Lucy Dunn (July, 2023)

As I reach my fifties, friendless husbands seem to be a thing. My own husband, Kern, is one of them. The few friends he has – his bromance with golfing mate Duncan is a lovely thing to see – he can count on one hand, and he hardly sees them. And while I don’t like to judge, I do get slightly irritated that 99.9 percent of the time he leaves it up to me to fill up the social diary. But it’s one of the many fleeting niggles of being married to someone for 21 years and not worth fighting over.

Here’s why experts say men need more friends in their lives — and how they can make them: Salon by Mary Elizabeth Williams (June, 2023)

Siple says, “Many men (myself included) struggle with being proactive in our male relationships. It is important for men to explore any and every outlet to make and maintain these connections. Formality isn’t necessary. Whether it’s a running group, trivia team, Bible study, or whatever, I believe this social connectivity is an incredibly important aspect of our mental health.”

‘We don’t do deep emotional discussions’: why men lose their friends – and how they can make more: The Guardian by Sam Wollaston (May, 2023)

Dr Robin Dunbar, an anthropologist and evolutionary psychologist, and a top researcher into friends and friendship, says that, though some might not want to believe it, men’s and women’s friendships are different. Women’s friendships tend to be more personalized and dyadic: who you are is the most important thing. “Men’s friendships are more clubby, and in some sense anonymous – it matters more what you are than who you are,” he says. “In other words, do you belong to my club? If you do, that qualifies you to be a friend, and anybody who ticks that box can be substituted in if you don’t turn up or go off to Thailand for ever, or whatever. A lot of men’s friendships seem to be built around activities, so conversation is quite unimportant, and is largely designed to trigger laughter as much as anything else. Men don’t do deep emotional discussions about friendships.”

Opinion piece: Rebuilding communities in a ‘friendship recession’: The Daily Telegraph by Andrew Leigh (May, 2023)

Even before the pandemic community engagement was declining. In Reconnected: A Community Builder’s Handbook, Nick Terrell and I documented a drop in the share of Australians playing organized sport, volunteering, attending religious services, joining a union, donating to charity or joining community organizations.

Are We Witnessing a Friendship Recession?: ShoutOut UK by Amelia Brady (May 2023)

Whom do you go to when you need to talk?
You might call a parent, drop in on a sibling, or maybe spend some time with a friend. Whether you’ve known them since nappies or met them a week ago, the fact is, friendship is an intrinsic part of human nature — something that may be reflected in the fact that people with stronger social relationships have a 50 percent lower mortality risk than those without. Unsurprisingly, loneliness does the opposite: increasing this risk by 26 per cent, with one study likening its detrimental effects to smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Still, one in eight Britons (12 per cent), say that they have just one person whom they consider to be a close friend. By all indicators, the friendship pool seems to be running dry, and with rates of loneliness reaching record highs, it seems that the friendship economy is entering a hopeless depression.

Zerodha co-founder Nikhil Kamath is worried about friendship recession. Here’s what it means: Money Control by Ankita Sengupta (May 2023)

Zerodha co-founder Nikhil Kamath recently shared that he is worried about the world facing a “friendship recession” with a number of people admitting to lacking close friends. The billionaire added that he has five friends that he would “do all for”.

What Is a Friendship Recession and Why Are We Currently In One?: Reader’s Digest by Jessica Kaplan (May 2023)

According to a 2021 survey done by the Survey Center on American Life, a friendship recession describes an uptick in the average time spent alone, the number of friends one has and overall time devoted to friendship. The survey found that since 1990, the number of men with at least six close friends decreased from 55% to 27%. Similarly, for men who identified as having zero close friends, the numbers jumped from 3% to 15%.

The Friendship Recession: Connection and Isolation in the Digital Age: Not Alone by Matthew Frank (April, 2023)

What could be causing our acquaintanceships to fizzle? It boils down to a number of factors that have slowly taken hold of our lives, many of which are tied to our modern lifestyles. Firstly, technology has enabled an ease of communication that has replaced face-to-face interactions. Far from being social, however, these means of connecting–not least of all the Internet–have only served to add further distance between us.

Why the Friendship Recession Matters and Ways to Cope: UW Medicine by Emily Boynton (February 2023)

Loneliness was already on the rise before the pandemic. The current U.S. surgeon general called loneliness a public health concern back in 2017, and census data between 2014 and 2019 revealed that the amount of time Americans spent with their friends decreased each year — leading to what some experts have called a friendship recession. So, it’s no surprise that a recent study found 20% of younger adults are lonely.

The friendship recession: Big Think by Richard Reeves (April 2023)

Americans without friends have increased 250% in recent years. Here’s why. Richard Reeves, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, discusses the importance of friendships and the potential “friendship recession.” He notes that loneliness can be as harmful as smoking 15 cigarettes per day, but measuring and quantifying friendships is difficult. According to Reeves, an ideal number of close friends is around three or four…

Scientists Warn of A “Friendship Recession” — I’m Part of It: Medium by Addie Page (Feb 2023)

I’m thirsty for friends. It’s embarrassing. I’m far too old to be courting acquaintances like some middle school girl at Claire’s, harassing strangers for their opinion on $5 earrings. But here we are.

Why Is It So Hard for Men to Make Close Friends?: New York Times by Catherine Pearson (Nov 2022)

American men appear to be stuck in a “friendship recession” — a trend that predates the Covid-19 pandemic but that seems to have accelerated over the past several years as loneliness levels have crept up worldwide. In a 2021 survey of more than 2,000 adults in the United States, less than half of the men said they were truly satisfied with how many friends they had, while 15 percent said they had no close friends at all — a fivefold increase since 1990. That same survey found that men were less likely than women to rely on their friends for emotional support or to share their personal feelings with them.

Are you experiencing a ‘friendship recession?’: Women’s Health by Claudia Canavan (Dec 2022)

The ‘friendship recession’ phrasing – showing that 15% of American men and 10% of women reported having ‘no friends.’ This spike looks sinister when contrasted with 1990’s data, in which 3% of men and 2% of women expressed the same sentiment.

‘Some weeks I only speak to the postman’: how to escape learned loneliness – and soar socially: The Guardian by Anita Chaudhuri (Feb 2023)

Meanwhile, in the US, the term “friendship recession” entered the lexicon after census data revealed that Americans were spending an ever-decreasing amount of time with friends. The blame cannot solely be put on the pandemic because the decline has been steady since 2014. A decade ago, people spent six and a half hours a week with close friends, but by 2021 that figure had plummeted to just 2hr 45min.

Are We in a ‘Friendship Recession’?: StyleBlueprint by Alissa Harb (March 2023)

There has been plenty of talk of an economic recession, but the under-the-radar recession no one is talking about has to do with our relationships. In our post-COVID society, we might think isolation is in the rearview. And with practically unlimited access to people and information at our fingertips, we might also think that connection is easier than ever — but surveys show that there are a lot of lonely people out there.

Is America suffering a ‘social recession’?: The Guardian by Anton Cebalo (Jan 2023)

Ever since a notorious chart showing that fewer people are having sex than ever before first made the rounds, there’s been increased interest in the state of America’s social health. Polling has demonstrated a marked decline in all spheres of social life, including close friendships, intimate relationships, trust, labor participation and community involvement. The continuing shift has been called the “friendship recession” or the “social recession” – and, although it will take years before this is clearly established, it was almost certainly worsened by the pandemic.

Why Friendships Among Men Are So Important: Greater Good Science Center by Jill Suttie (March 2023)

Having an intimate group of friends like that seems to be a rare thing for men these days. In fact, according to a recent American Survey report, men have fewer social ties overall than they used to, with only 27% of men in 2021 saying they had at least six close friends compared to 55% in 1990. This suggests men may be suffering a “friendship recession” that is likely affecting their health and happiness.

Men have fewer friends than ever, and it’s harming their health: Vox by Aubrey Hirsch (August, 2022)

Young men are living with their parents longer and those that do often forgo making other friendships and bonds outside of the home. Changes in the workplace might be contributing as well. Americans are working longer hours, switching jobs more often and going to the office less than we were in the past. But we also tend to socialize young boys in particular to hide their vulnerabilities and value toughness and stoicism over emotional sensitivity and connection. 

Men suffer ‘friendship recession’ as 15% are without a single close pal: New York Post by Adriana Diaz (July 2021)

These staggering statistics of the friendship recession found in the American Perspectives Survey are being attributed to a multitude of cultural-trend changes in the past two decades, including a decline in religious involvement, lower marriage rates and changes in the workplace, that are creating a surge of disconnection.

American men experiencing ‘friendship recession’: report, Fox News by Ann W. Schmidt (July 2021)

Single men are especially affected by the “friendship recession.” According to the survey, 20% of men who are not in a romantic relationship reported not having any close friends.

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%: Daily Mail by Rory Tingle (July 2021)

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