I was going to write a personal story about my love affair with accessories. But as often happens to me, I get sidetracked just as I did today when I saw the headline, The Average American Has Not Made a New Friend for Five Years.
To be candid there are times I have a hard time staying in my lane. Don’t get me wrong, I am as stable as the day is long; it’s my addiction to knowledge, coupled with an uncanny curiosity that pulls me off target, as it did today when the mailman delivered one of my favorite periodicals.
The Blurb Read
“42% of those surveyed say they are shy and have trouble with social situations… one-third say they avoid the bar scene… one-third say circles of friends have already formed and are hard to break into… 29% say they are too busy with family… 28% have no hobbies that lead to friendships… 21% report moving.” – Survey of 2,000 adults commissioned by Evite.
The wording of the title: The Average American Has Not Made a New Friend In Five Years, coupled with the statistic that 42% of people surveyed have trouble with social situations because they are shy and find it difficult to make new friends, bothered me because people need people and I happen to be a very empathetic person.
The Average American Social Life
Americans have on average 3 best friends, 5 friends who they like, and 8 people they like but would not want to have a one-on-one relationship with.
What I found interesting is that half of the people surveyed said their 3 best friends and 5 good friends are from work, old friends from childhood neighborhoods, high school, and college.
81% of those surveyed admitted that lasting friendships are not easy to find or keep. And, there is disloyalty that hurts and disappointments when you need a friend most.
I was happy to read that those surveyed wanted friends who are honest, trustworthy, loyal, kind and funny.
What Do These Stats Suggest?
I sit at my computer wondering how you would feel after you read the title of the blurb, The Average American Has Not Made A New Friend For Five Years. The first time I read it I was shocked. This is what went through my mind.
“What is this all about? How can this be? How can a person go through 5-years of life and not make one friend?” As I read and re-read and re-read the title, and read the little blurb many times, I began to see clearer.
A percentage of people put family first and did not have the need or time for friends. A large percentage of people used, in my opinion, the excuse they did not have a hobby so they did not have to join a group to make new friends. Or, they moved to a new community and did not want to put out the effort to start from scratch making friends, or they could not see themselves joining an exclusive circle of friends because… who needs that?
Were these people shy and introverted? Were these people lacking the hard work ethic it requires to make new friendships? Or, by chance, did these people find it liberating to feel unencumbered and enjoyed their own company? I wondered.
Self-Isolation Because of COVID-19
A Case Study… Me!
Over the past five weeks, my Ultimate Concierge, our pooch America and I have self-isolated. We started self-isolating on March 10th before the word self-isolation was the new term in everyone’s vocabulary. I had made the decision to keep Shelly out of crowds; he had been sick and on a Z-Pak the week before.
I found it an adventure not to go anywhere because anywhere was not as adventurous as staying home!
I forgot I had a calendar and I did not miss it. So, I began cooking again and I enjoyed it.
I stopped answering the phone because I don’t like phones and I stopped shopping in stores and ordered from Amazon; a totally new experience!
As well, I walked America in the clean fresh desert air in California. I wrote my musings and established my dream, GRANDwomen with Moxie… Where loneliness disappears, my private Facebook group. However, I did not spend a day in PJ’s because getting dressed motivated me to begin my day. But, I did not wear makeup except, my red lipstick, and I learned Zoom and had a few meet-ups.
I spent time in my yard near nature and I only left our home twice to shop at the market, alone, in the wee hours of the morning. I texted and was in touch with our family and my mom. But, I spent hours alone talking to my Ultimate Concierge.
Why Am I Telling You This?
Because I did all of these things ‘alone without a friend’ for 38 days and I was happy. I was productive and I had clarity. Darlings, I was given an invitation that I had to accept to self-isolation… to nowhere. And if I knew who to write a thank you note to, I would.
I am smiling because my life stopped hurrying around outside myself and turned inward to my mind and my thoughts… As I said before; clarity.
So, my readers, maybe the stats are too vague. Maybe the people would rather be alone than join a group and have to learn a hobby. And maybe just maybe, the person moving to a new city would prefer to go at their own pace instead of seeking new friends and the group who has its close-knit click. Who wants to work to push themselves into that den anyway?
And those of you who are shy and introverted, you have had time to examine who you are and have depth and maybe just maybe you should consider yourselves a lucky one.
So maybe just maybe when people were asked, “How many new friends did you make in the last five years?” maybe just maybe they did not want to make 5 new friends. Maybe they were content to have interesting acquaintances… maybe they were content with their old childhood friends and did not want new friends. Or maybe just maybe, they were there own best friend and that suited them, just fine. I am really smiling.