There is Something Very Strange Happening in Modern Friendships
Friendships are an important part of human life, providing emotional and social support as well as a feeling of connection with others. However, in our modern society, friendships have become longer and more difficult to maintain due to people’s increasing mobility.
Studies have shown that people who move often tend to have a disposable view of objects and relationships. This attitude can be problematic because friendships require commitment and investment to develop and flourish. Without strong social connections with friends and family, feeling safe is harder.
Studies have shown that people who move often tend to have a disposable view of objects and relationships. This attitude can be problematic because friendships require commitment and investment to develop and flourish.
“We found a link between how you look at objects and perceive your relationships.
If you move a lot, you develop throwaway attitudes toward objects, furniture, books, appliances – basically whatever merchandise you have at home, even your car.
Modern societies are often highly mobile, with people moving for work, school, or to start fresh.
Research has found that the more people move, the more they tend to have a disposable view of objects and close social connections.
People who view their friendships as disposable are less likely to develop close, lasting bonds with others.
This could lead to mental and physical health problems because friendships provide important emotional and social support for individuals.
Dr. Gillath suggests that this is a broad phenomenon where we all tend to view relationships with colleagues, friends and social network members as replaceable.
Even in romantic relationships, when Dr. Gillath asks his students what they would do when things get complicated, most say they would move on rather than try to work things out or turn to a counselor.
These attitudes can be psychologically unhealthy, according to Dr. Gillath:
“Research suggests that only deeper, high-quality connections provide us with the support we need, like love, understanding, and respect.
It would help to feel safe and okay if you had these very close connections.
When social connections are perceived as expendable, the likelihood of obtaining necessary support from your network diminishes. This can have adverse effects on both your mental and physical well-being, potentially impacting your overall health and longevity.
The Crisis of Friendship
There is no doubt that having friends is extremely good for people.
Those who invest in their friendships enjoy better psychological and physical health, especially among older adults (Lu et al., 2021).
Despite this, people have difficulty making friends.
Relationship expert Dr. William Chopik pointed out that friendships benefit almost everyone, but people find it increasingly difficult to make friends. The perception of friendships as disposable likely plays a role in this “friendship crisis.”
It is important to recognize the importance of friendships and take the time and effort to develop close, lasting bonds with others. This may require long-term commitment and relationship investment, even when difficult or uncomfortable.
Dr. William Chopik, a relationship expert, said:
“In the contemporary era, a prevailing sentiment suggests that we are experiencing a ‘friendship crisis,’ wherein individuals feel a sense of loneliness and a desire for companionship, yet encounter challenges in forming meaningful connections.”
However, why is it so difficult to make and keep friends?
The friendship crisis is an alarming reality. According to a study conducted by the Pew Research Center, nearly half of Americans report not having enough friends or meaningful social relationships. This trend is observed in many countries worldwide, particularly in industrialized countries.
The reasons for this crisis are multiple and complex. One of the leading causes is the evolution of modern lifestyles. People are busier than ever, working long hours and spending much time on their electronic devices. Free time is often spent on individual activities rather than social interactions. Online friendships and social media can give the illusion of social connection, but they do not replace in-person interactions.
Furthermore, geographic mobility is another important cause of the friendship crisis. People are moving more often and further away for work reasons, which can break existing friendships. New relationships can be complex in a new environment, especially for older adults.
Social and cultural changes can also play a role. The individualistic values prevalent in many countries may encourage people to focus on their success and well-being rather than creating meaningful social connections. Additionally, the stigma of loneliness and social isolation can prevent people from seeking help or speaking openly about their problems.
What Can We Do to Remedy this Friendship Crisis? Here are Some Ideas:
1- Prioritize friendships in our daily lives, giving time and attention to existing friends and seeking to meet new ones.
2- Do social activities that we enjoy, such as participating in clubs or hobby groups or joining non-profit organizations.
3- Use technologies to strengthen social ties rather than replace them. Hosting video calls or online events can be a way to stay in touch with friends far away or form new relationships.
4- Encourage the culture of community in our neighborhoods and cities. Participating in local events or volunteer projects can encourage the development of meaningful social connections.
5- Work on our attitudes towards loneliness and social isolation, recognizing that it is normal and healthy to seek out friendly relationships and ask for help when needed.
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