A few weeks ago, I received results of a new study about how hard it is to make friends in America. I was saddened by the results, even if I saw similar studies before. But before I comment on it, I wanted to look deeper and see how reliable it is.
Turns out, the people who participated in the survey are largely representative of the US population in age, gender, and geographical distribution. This was done by the good folks at Patook, which is an app that helps you discover potential friends around you – it follows a point-based system that matches you with people who have thing in common with you.
And we all know how important it is to find things in common in order to make friends.
So, before we jump into the new findings, let’s ask:
How Much Can We Trust These Results?
Basically, this study says that it’s hard to make friends in America. But the question is, how hard? And hard for whom?
After comparisons with other studies, it turns out that these results are in the ballpark of what I’m used to. But I really like getting fresh data on these trends. The thing is, it’s not just about the US, it’s basically the same deal in countries like France, the UK, Canada, Australia, Denmark, Sweden, Germany, and even Russia, and India. This seems more like a global trend.
Without further ado, let’s look into four findings from the study…
Finding #1: 70% of people don’t find it “easy” to make friends
As you can see, there 24% people find it very hard to make friends, 14% find it very hard, and 36% find it “so-so.” But why do I put 70% don’t find it easy in my claim?
Well, these people were asked “how hard is it for you to make platonic friends?” We’re not talking about “good friends,” or “close friends” here. So, even just making new casual friends is hard for the majority of people. Making casual friendships used to be regarded as n easy thing to do, people used to struggle with making friendships last. Now, even casual friendships are hard for people.
Finding #2: It’s Harder For Women To Make Friends (Apparently)
This, I have doubts about. Remember, this is based on self-reporting. I noticed over the years that men are slightly more likely to hide their difficulties when it comes to social skills. Society stigmatizes loneliness or lack of social skills as a weakness that you’re not supposed to talk about. When in fact, the quicker you seek help, the quicker you’ll get your social life where you want it to be.
Finding #3: Young Adults Are Feeling The Heat
Early adulthood, after college, is a hard place to be. Your whole life has changed as you enter the workforce. The social rules change and there are very few incentives to go dedicate time to your social life, outside of work. That’s a very interesting time because you kind of need to re-learn how to make friends – this time, you need to make friends as an adult.
Finding #4: Location, Location, Location
No, I’m not gonna tell you that your city plays a significant factor in your social life – you already know that.
What interesting here is to know that the more time you spend somewhere, the easier it’ll be to make friends. That familiarity sure helps. It’s those early days when you just landed in a new place that you feel the most lonely.
Hopefully, you realize that you need social skills that will help you wherever you go. You wouldn’t need to stay five years in a place in order for it to get easier to make friends. I learned early on from socially skilled expats who travel every couple of years – they knew they didn’t have the time to “settle in.” They always hit the ground running when it comes to social life, and that’s something you deserve to be able to do as well.
First, go check out the Patook app; it’s relatively new, but they sure have an original take on making friends, based on the point-system. Take it for a spin, here: Patook.com.
Secondly, if you haven’t already, I invite you to learn more about my eBook, Get The Friends You Want; and the Advanced Social Skills Audio Training. In them, I share condensed knowledge, principles, and techniques to help you overcome loneliness and social blocks, master conversation and important social skills, make friendships happen, and build a social circle.
– Paul Sanders