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Does friendship matter anymore?


Friending - Sending an invitation to someone to become a "friend" on Facebook or other social networking site. If the individual accepts, they have access to each other's information and updates. Users can even friend a brand in order to be alerted to special offers. Friends can also be "defriended" or "unfriended" later on, which may be considered as much of a personal rejection as not returning phone calls.


Has social media changed our definition of friendship?


Most of us have been happily accumulating online friends for years. But according to recent American Perspectives Survey, our friendships IRL are on the decline.

  • 12% of Americans have ZERO close friends (10 years ago only 3% had no close friends).

  • A decade ago 1 in 3 Americans had 10+ close friends. Today that numbers is down to 1 in 10. American Perspectives Survey

As friendships have declined, loneliness has been on the rise


A recent workplace study found that over half of employees today feel lonely at work all or most of the time, and they also report a desire for more social interaction in the workplace. Professionals who spend a large portion of their time communicating with coworkers using technology (as opposed to face-to-face interactions) reported feeling lonely all or most of the time.


Friendship matters at home and at work

  • The more friends you have at work, the longer you will stay with your company.

  • Remote workers are more likely to quit because of loneliness and low engagement.

  • Men, introverts and younger generations have a greater need for work companionship.

  • Leaders can support employee relationships by encouraging connection in-person over online.

And not to pile on, but...


And according to MIT researcher, Sandy Pentland, we don't even have as many friends as we think we do:


"We found that while most people assume friendships are two-way, only about half of friendships are indeed reciprocal. These findings indicate a profound inability of people to know who their friends are, perhaps because the possibility of non-reciprocal friendship challenges one’s self-image. We like them, they must like us. In itself this may seem like an interesting but minor finding, but this large proportion of asymmetric friendships translates to a major effect on the ability of an individual to persuade others to cooperate or change their behavior."

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