Monday, June 26, 2006

Americans' circle of close friends shrinking

So say the scientists. It certainly explains the widespread depression we've seen and the enormous trouble we've had getting up any form of children's club. I wonder how many people who try to pry into other people's lifestyles are really leading "lives of quiet desperation." What do you think?

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sometimes I wonder if the hypersexualization of everything--advertisements, movies, music, everything focused on romance and love--isn't behund part of this. Not all, certainly. But I frequently find myself avoiding closeness to people I think of as potential friends because I'm afraid it could be misconstrued, or becuase I have my own wires crossed a little.

Case in point: I have a terrific boss who's also a good guy, an admirable husband and father, and as brilliant as the shine off a sword. To say I look up to him tremendously would be quite accurate, and isn't it NICE to be able to say that about your boss? But I can't just be an employee or even a friend, no, I have to guard myself against inappropriate sentiment. Why can't a man and woman just genuinely like each other for what's fine and admirable about them?

Joyous, but a bit lonely said...

All I can say is that it's good to know it's not just me having a tough time finding close friends.

Lioness said...

Anonymous, that's interesting. For many years I found it easier to be nonsexual friends with men than with women. Once we got past "Are we going to sleep together?", there were fewer expectations on our relationship. It took me a long time to relax among women, because I always worried that I wasn't acting "right".

Kash said...

Have you read Bowling Alone? I only made it through about half of it before I had to take it back to the library (damn those renewal limits, and real life!), but it was both interesting and sobering.

In the almost six years since my daughter was born, I went from having a few close friends (half male, half female) and a large circle of acquaintances, most of whom were male, to having two close friends, both female & one living in a different state, and a large circle of not-as-close acquaintances, all female. It's a big change and I really miss having those male friendships at times. There is a horrible sense of social isolation for sure...

The friend who lives in a different state is an online friend who is planning to move to my state. Thank *god* she is - we both can't wait until she makes the move. So the internet can help... but if she wasn't able to move, I'm not sure it would help that much.

Natalie said...

...so, it's not homeschoolers who have the socialization issue (as a general rule).

I found this article very interesting. I think, if it weren't for PEAK, I'd be bored out of my mind and quite lonely. After all, you can only get so close to business associates (scratch that...my husband's business associates. See? They're not even mine.).

I have three close friends in the world (not including my husband and my sister). Two of those are homeschoolers I've met within the last two years...and I had to work hard to make those two connections. The other is a childhood friend.

I wonder if it's harder to find friends or if it's harder to make friends of the people around us...

Unique said...

I thought about giving up my internet connection, but then I realized I'd have no social life at all.

Why is making new friendships so hard? Two reasons (IMO) #1 - people are so very busy. Self induced busy, but busy nonetheless. #2 - Intolerance. A lot of people insist on having friends *just like themselves* and if your lifestyle, thought process, world view varies - oops - you're outta there.

Not always, true. Some people are remarkably accomodating - others, not so much. YMMV.