Add this Page to Facebook!   Submit to Twitter   Submit to Reddit   Submit to Stumble Upon   Pin It!   Fark It!   Tell A Friend  
Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite Save As Favorite View Article Stats

Sci Tech

Close friendships: why so few?

By (about the author)     Permalink       (Page 1 of 1 pages)
Related Topic(s): ; ; ; ; ; , Add Tags Add to My Group(s)

Well Said 1  
View Ratings | Rate It

Headlined to H3 9/4/09
Become a Fan
  (19 fans)

Many Americans have trouble maintaining close friendships. According to a 2006 study from the American Sociological Review, "25% of Americans have no close confidants, and the average total number of confidants per citizen has dropped from four to two." (source)

Here are some possible reasons for having few close friends:

  1. Many of us are too busy with work and family.
  2. We spend too much time watching TV or playing on the Internet.
  3. We spend time on social networking sites and on blogs, perhaps with the hope of making friends, but deep friendships tend not to develop online.
  4. Many people are addicted to food, drugs, or sex.
  5. People in romantic relationships often spend all their free time with their partners.
  6. A straight man may avoid friendship with women because he knows that he'll be romantically attracted to them. Similarly with gay men, straight women, etc.
  7. Peoples' partners sometimes won't let them have friends, for fear of romantic rivals.
  8. Some men feel competitive towards other men and much prefer female friends. Similarly, some women feel competitive towards other women and much prefer male friends. This halves the number of potential friends.
  9. Many people expect that their friends will be close to themselves in age. This limits their pool of potential friends.
  10. Some heterosexual men avoid close friendships with other men for fear of homosexuality, or for fear of being perceived to be gay.
  11. What good is a friend when a lover fulfills our needs so much more completely?
  12. At work we need to maintain a professional distance -- which makes it hard to develop friendships at work, even though you spend half your day there.
  13. Some people feel unworthy of friendship and are ashamed of their choices and careers.
  14. Many people quarrel with their friends and even their family.
  15. Suburban sprawl and the car culture make friendship difficult.
  16. Some people expect too much of their friends: time, emotional support, sympathy, or money. They have "boundary issues."
  17. People who don't attend a church, synagogue, mosque, temple tend to have less social interaction.
  18. Friendships don't last, especially online friendships.
  19. Some people have many casual friends but don't allow anyone to become a close friend.
  20. Oftentimes young people have many friends, but when they grow up they become busy and lose their old friends.
  21. People relocate so often that they never "put down roots" and they lose track of friends.

Perhaps you can suggest some additional significant reasons that I overlooked.

I'm doing research about close friendship in the age of the Internet. I'm particularly interested in exploring friendship's relation to love and romance. I want to hear peoples' thoughts, frustrations, and stories on the issues raised above.

The issues cover a lot of ground. The three areas I want to concentrate on are:

  1. Why do people have trouble maintaining close non-romantic friendships? The answers may vary depending on whether the friendships are same-sex or opposite-sex, and on whether the people are heterosexual or homosexual.
  2. How do platonic friendships interact with romantic relationships? Are they in conflict? Many people in close romantic relationships become cut off from potential friends. Why is this and what can we do to remedy it?
  3. Can close non-romantic friendships develop online? How can blogs and social networking sites increase the depth and quality of friendships?

If you can spare 5 minutes, please fill out this survey. There's an area for adding comments, which you can use even if you don't have time to answer the multiple-choice questions. Or email me via OpEdNews if you want to continue the discussion started here.

DFA organizer, Democratic Precinct Committee Officer, writer, and programmer. My op-ed pieces have appeared in the Seattle Times, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, and elsewhere. See and for my writing, my (more...)
Add this Page to Facebook!   Submit to Twitter   Submit to Reddit   Submit to Stumble Upon   Pin It!   Fark It!   Tell A Friend
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact Author Contact Editor View Authors' Articles

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

The myth that the Dems are as bad as the Repugs

Failure to prosecute: why Obama is having trouble passing health care reform

Undividing the Left: Hard-core and Soft-core progressives

"They're out to get us!" On trust, distrust, and organizing for change

The Battle over I-1098 in Washington State

Why Abortion Isn't Murder


The time limit for entering new comments on this article has expired.

This limit can be removed. Our paid membership program is designed to give you many benefits, such as removing this time limit. To learn more, please click here.

Comments: Expand   Shrink   Hide  
3 people are discussing this page, with 3 comments
To view all comments:
Expand Comments
(Or you can set your preferences to show all comments, always) lacking. The greed for money and power has... by mikel paul on Saturday, Sep 5, 2009 at 1:53:17 PM
About 50 years ago, my Daddy used to tell me that ... by Doc "Old Codger" McCoy on Saturday, Sep 5, 2009 at 8:08:05 PM
Someone responding to the survey made the same poi... by Don Smith on Saturday, Sep 5, 2009 at 8:50:30 PM