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Why can't we make friends anymore?

Contemporary lifestyles do not help us meet new people

Why can't we make friends anymore? Contemporary lifestyles do not help us meet new people
Netflix - Skam Italia
Netflix - Skam Italia

When we were kids, making friends was simple, natural. You just had to go to kindergarten, borrow a crayon. Or at the park, argue over a spot on the swing, throw dirt at each other. We'd come home tired and happy, tell our moms, dads, or whoever about our encounters, our new best friends. We'd lose sight of each other and find each other, continuously, without too many problems. However, as we grow up, making friends seems to be increasingly difficult. How do you go about finding new people to spend your leisure time with, especially after completing compulsory education? It seems impossible, and it might even depend on us. The truth, though, is that contemporary lifestyles don't allow time for casual socialization and interaction outside of couples.

We don't have time for friends

Let's start from the beginning. Try to recall your daily routine. Between university, work, errands, time spent on transportation, and social media, how much time and energy do you have actively to devote to someone else? And we're not talking about your partner or people you're obligated to live with (whether they are family or roommates doesn't matter), we're talking about other people who aren't colleagues, relatives, cashiers, pharmacists, or controllers: in short, friends. Probably very little. In an individualistic, hyper-consumeristic, and competitive society like ours, having time to spare to get to know someone without specific goals, just because you enjoy spending time with them, is almost seen as a useless whim. Adults don't need friends, according to society.

Burnout and loneliness

What time, even? We've never been so tired and burned out, and friendships involve commitment, availability, understanding, and compromise, even if we often don't realize it. Do you come to me or do I come to you? Do we do what you want or what I want? How much money will be spent? Even economic factors come into play, preventing us from enjoying our social connections peacefully. Do we have to reach into our wallets to spend a Saturday afternoon in company, chatting, and discussing our lives and interests? The answer seems to be yes. The so-called third places, public spaces that are neither home nor office, ideally free and where people can interact, gather, meet, and talk within their neighborhoods and beyond, are decreasing more and more in large cities and elsewhere. It would be ideal, and it would also address problems of economic disparity between parties, which could be embarrassing. There is much talk about a loneliness epidemic, especially among the young, but what is being done to create safe spaces to be together?


food for thought let me know!!

original sound - Mina Le

The social networks effects

Again, as always, we must open a parenthesis for social networks. When the gremlita user raised the issue of friendships and their management in adulthood, expressing reflections inspired by an article on Substack written by Rosie Spinks, many comments noted how interactions on social media could be responsible for our progressive loneliness. "We are continually updated on people's lives on social media; we think we're good, updated on everything, but it's superficial knowledge," someone points out. "In my experience, the overstimulation I get from the internet drains me so much that when someone writes to me, I feel irritated. We need to take care of our energy so that we want to spend time with someone," adds someone else. In general, it seems that everyone agrees: not only is making new friends difficult, but also keeping friendships alive has become almost mechanical in contemporary times, just the next maintenance task, to be managed coldly, scheduling appointments months in advance and slotting people into gaps, almost like job calls. Lastly, it's impossible not to notice that, especially for girls aged 25 and above, priorities change. If not for them, for the people around them. Many girls, by choice or due to external pressures, invest a lot of energy in finding a life partner, viewing the couple as the only social unit in adulthood. All the time spent on this exhausting activity is actively taken away from friendship, old or new.

@starnesey Also I’m on my period so I’m extra emotional #longdistancefriendship #adultfriendships #maintainingfriendships #nowimcrying original sound - Starnesey

Make some time for others

A one-size-fits-all solution, as usual, doesn't exist. The blame is shared: ours, the world around us, others. It might be useful to compromise, carve out an afternoon a week to dedicate exclusively to friends, look for free events to meet people. Concerts in parks, book clubs, creative writing workshops. Anything could lead us to meet our next heart friend. And if it doesn't work, at least we've talked to other humans about something that interests and passionates us. One step at a time, right?