Wednesday, January 27, 2010

If you've ever felt alone in a crowded room...


...it seems you're not alone!


Following are excerpts from a Washington Post Article I stumbled upon over here today. I just found them to be both interesting....and sad:


Americans are far more socially isolated today than they were two decades ago, and a sharply growing number of people say they have no one in whom they can confide, according to a comprehensive new evaluation of the decline of social ties in the United States.

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A quarter of Americans say they have no one with whom they can discuss personal troubles, more than double the number who were similarly isolated in 1985. Overall, the number of people Americans have in their closest circle of confidants has dropped from around three to about two.

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The comprehensive new study paints a sobering picture of an increasingly fragmented America, where intimate social ties -- once seen as an integral part of daily life and associated with a host of psychological and civic benefits -- are shrinking or nonexistent. In bad times, far more people appear to suffer alone.

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Compared with 1985, nearly 50 percent more people in 2004 reported that their spouse is the only person they can confide in.

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"We know these close ties are what people depend on in bad times," she said. "We're not saying people are completely isolated. They may have 600 friends on Facebook.com [a popular networking Web site] and e-mail 25 people a day, but they are not discussing matters that are personally important."

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Whereas nearly three-quarters of people in 1985 reported they had a friend in whom they could confide, only half in 2004 said they could count on such support. The number of people who said they counted a neighbor as a confidant dropped by more than half, from about 19 percent to about 8 percent.

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For most of the 20th century, Americans were becoming more connected with family and friends, and there was more giving of blood and money, and all of those trend lines turn sharply in the middle '60s and have gone in the other direction ever since," he said.

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Americans go on 60 percent fewer picnics today and families eat dinner together 40 percent less often compared with 1965, he said. They are less likely to meet at clubs or go bowling in groups. Putnam has estimated that every 10-minute increase in commutes makes it 10 percent less likely that people will establish and maintain close social ties.

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But University of Toronto sociologist Barry Wellman questioned whether the study's focus on intimate ties means that social ties in general are fraying. He said people's overall ties are actually growing, compared with previous decades, thanks in part to the Internet. Wellman has calculated that the average person today has about 250 ties with friends and relatives.

7 comments:

Yiota said...

just wanted to say hello! i'll read this tomorrow as i sometimes feel alone in a crowd; right now i'm ready for bed.
take care!

The 4 Bushel Farmgal said...

Ah, yes. Americans are busier being busier, and have less time to interact with friends, neighbors, and relatives. (Remember my "front porch" post?) Instead of building close relationships we are placing our values elsewhere (tv or Wii?)
Great article!

MyStory of HiStory said...

Hi Yiota! Thanks for stopping it just to say hi. Made my day! :)

& Hello Farmgal...yep I do indeed remember that post...My dreamhouse has a nice big front porch ... w/ comfy rocking chairs - seems they're the best (other than the chairs around the dinner table!) for encouraging plenty of one on one, good ol' fashioned(!) conversation :)

Holley Gerth said...

You did a great job of hitting the highlights of the article. It IS sad. Thanks for the link and I'm so glad you're joing in The Rest of Your Story series! (:

MyStory of HiStory said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MyStory of HiStory said...

Hi Holley! Welcome! I'm looking forward to the series & will likely link over to your end again very soon to share more about it.

bahava said...

Sad, but so true and definitely hits even harder and closer to truth after being away for quite a while--intensifies the loneliness and brokenness here.