Back in 1985, the General Social Survey reported that Americans had an average of 2.94 nearby buddies (confidants is that the expression researchers prefer to use). A recent poll from 2004 found that the amount of confidants has fallen to 2.08. To put it differently, Americans have dropped on average one buddy with whom they discuss significant things. The connections with the largest fall in confidants were neighbors and group/club members. We’re less than half as likely to have them close friends today than in 1985. It is really unfortunate because everybody can use more friends. The research implies that the use of our social media has transformed this. Rather than a couple of strong ties, we’ve got more weak ties.

Americans are not as likely to have buddies with another education type, but more inclined to have friends of another race. Additionally, educated Americans have bigger and more varied networks. That being said about the friends you make during your school years — I found that my closest friends are out of internships and school.

McPherson, M., Smith-Lovin, L., & Brashears, M. E. (2006). Social Isolation in America: Changes in Core Discussion Networks over Two Decades. American Sociological Review, 71, 353-375.