Life in America has gotten lonelier over the past 25 years, if a new study is to be believed. That's because the number of "confidants" the average American has fell from three to two since 1985, according to a recent study published by Matthew Brashears of Cornell University. "Confidants," as defined by Brashears, are "people an individual can discuss 'important issues' with," according to the Cornell Daily Sun. So you can stop bragging about all the Facebook "friends" you have, because almost none of them are real.
The knee-jerk reaction to news like this is to blame Mark Zuckerberg for killing "true" friendship, or something like that, but Brashears' study shows the average number of close friends went unchanged between now and 2004, the year Facebook was founded. Brashears conjectures that since 1985 people are simply more discerning about who they choose as friends, telling the Sun that "It’s not the decline of Western civilization ... There is no reason to freak out."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to email@example.com.