What happened to all of our friendships? You know, real, in-person relationships with people we trust and love. Remember before the years of kids’ activities, multiple work deadlines, and political or conspiratorial separations? The years when we would stay up, show up, or hang out?
Having good friends and being one has turned into a way of the past—something that was a part of life when we were younger. But we were made for connection, and the loneliness we’re experiencing is killing us.1
The number of Americans who have only three (or fewer!) close friends has shot up 22% over the past 30 years—meanwhile, the number of Americans who have at least 10 or more close friends has dropped by 21% since 1990.2 We need to go back and relearn the basics of what good friends are and how to be one. Not an internet friend. Not someone you just nod toward at work. But the kind of friend who makes time for people and pursues meaningful relationships. The kind of friend you can call at 2 a.m. with an emergency. A real friend.
Here’s the truth: You don’t have to live life lonely and isolated. You can have safe and true friendships. You can enjoy depth and have fun. You can learn to serve others and think of their needs first. I would even say you have to if you want to live a full, adventurous, whole life. So, let’s get started.