When was the last time you had a catch-up with all of your close friends? I mean—a real catch-up, which doesn’t involve checking their social media profile for updates, giving their odd post a like, or direct messaging them via Instagram with a ‘💯’ in response to their Instagram Story?
According to a survey commissioned by Pernod Richard, adults are less likely to go out and meet people due to their obsession with social networking.
The survey of 3053 adults found social media has hindered the ability of adults to make friends in ‘real life’. Six in ten people see their friends less due to a more digitalised world.
The fizzling out of friendships…
Though a third surveyed longed for closer friendships, the research also found social media, along with busy lifestyles, working long hours, being a parent, and living too far from one another, has resulted in the fizzling out of friendships.
Those polled admitted to have drifted apart from seven friends in total as a result of not being able to have a regular catch-up with them.
Fifty-five per cent believe social media has had a negative impact on their relationships with friends by making those relationships “more superficial”.
Investing time and mental effort…
Professor Robin Dunbar, British anthropologist and evolutionary psychologist, said: “The limit of friends you have is set by your capacity to invest time and mental effort in them.
“That’s why people who are in love typically can only cope with four other close relationships – because they’re already investing a lot of time and effort in the object of their affection.
“However the more close relationships you have, the higher your levels of happiness are.
“With this in mind, making small changes to our lifestyles like cutting down on social media can give us more time and space in the ‘real world’ to embrace convivial moments with friends, and doing this is what creates close, fulfilling and happy friendships.”
The research also found the typical Brit has twelve friends – but feel they can only truly confide in four of them on average. Fifty-six per cent believe that sharing genuine moments with friends and family is key to maintaining close friendships.
Making new friends…
Despite some of the findings, the research found that social media has actually had a positive effect on the social lives of twenty-two per cent of the population. More than a fifth polled have made a new and genuine friend through Facebook, Twitter or Instagram within a period of six months.
Aisha A. Phipps
Musings of Ms. Phipps
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