Why Americans are Spending Less Time with Friends — And What to do About it

Daniel A. Cox December 20, 2022

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JULY 24: People sit and have a picnic in Washington Square Park during a heat wave on July 24, 2022 in New York City. The five boroughs of New York City are under a heat advisory until 8 PM on July 24th according to the US National Weather Service. Much of the East Coast is experiencing higher than usual temperatures as a heat wave moves through the area forcing residents into parks, pools and beaches to escape the heat. (Photo by Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images)

WBUR On Point

A full work week. Hours on housework, yard work, time spent with your kids or partner. Then there’s all the time we spend online.

Where is the time for friends?

“I think the trickiness of social media is it gives us these snacks of connection,” friendship excerpt Marisa Franco says.

“And it’s like we’ve been subsisting on snacks of connection from social media rather than having the sort of nutrient dense meal of in-person connection.”

In fact, Americans are spending measurably less time with friends than they did a decade ago — less than half as much.

And that lack of friendship connections is producing a ripple effect across the country.

“We’ve seen this widespread national decline in civic and social … places where people would come together regularly in sort of a structured environment,” Dan Cox, director of the Survey Center on American Life, says.

Today, On Point: Declining time with friends, increasing loneliness. We hear what to do about Americans’ lost connections.

 

Listen to On Point on WBUR

 

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