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.
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.
I’m not saying that the government should go out and find friends for everybody, but in a country like this, what kind of message is more attractive and hopeful?
“No, seriously, you really are on your own. Screw your neighbor, look out for yourself.”
“Trust. We’re all in this together.”