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Are Married People Lonelier than Single People?

Are Married People Lonelier than Single People?

 

A recent study published in The Journal of Social and Personal Relationships examined the relationships with friends, neighbors, and extended family members, and compared the connections that single people had versus married couples. 

They found that on average, single people spend more time connecting with friends, neighbors, and relatives than married people.

Single people are more likely to give help to, receive help from, and stay in touch with siblings, friends, parents and neighbors than those who are married.

In fact, even if someone has a divorce, they will still spend less time with friends and neighbors, suggesting that the effects of a less social lifestyle can last beyond marriage.

(And maybe we should all be reaching out to our friends who have just gone through a divorce - they might need the company more than they know!)

The study results were able to rule out other factors, like age, kids, education, and income.

So why are married couples so antisocial?

The authors of the study have a few ideas:

  •  People believe that their husband/wife is their soulmate, and should fulfill all social needs
  • Single people may need to make more effort to fulfill their social needs since there is no one to socialize with at home
  • Another theory? Maybe this is another one we can blame on our busy, modern society!

Married people might feel that by the time work/volunteering/the gym/whatever is caught up with (which is never), there is barely time left over to put into a good marriage relationship.

What do you think?

To see the study, check out this link:

http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0265407515597564

 

If you are married, and worried that you are socializing enough, The Newlywed Handbook (written by the editors of www.thenest.com), has some advice about double dating for married couples:

 

Turn friendly casual friends into new couple friends 

Do you know any cool couples who might be fun to hang out with? These could be friends-of-friends, friends from work, or volunteering, or even neighbors. 

See how you all might enjoy hanging out by starting with a fun activity that gives you lots to talk about, like an "Escape Room", or a ghost tour, or a Teppanyaki - style Japanese restaurant.

Make sure both genders enjoy the company

At first, either the girls or the guys will dominate the conversations and planning - likely the person who set up the connection. But with a bit of effort, you can all enjoy good bonds with new friends at the same time.

The group time will be more satisfying if the girls and the guys get along great - so if the husbands know each other through work, the ladies should eventually make an effort to email each other, and meet for lunch or coffee without the guys too.

Expand your group again!

Four people at a dinner party is great! Three couples is even more fun! If you get four couples - eight people - now you can use your full dishes set from your registry! 

 

Are married people lonelier than single people

 

Make sure to check out our other blog post, "Social tips for Couples"!

 

Do you think married people are lonelier than single people?

 

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Is Loneliness a Rising Epidemic in Young People?

Is Loneliness a Rising Epidemic in Young People?

Studies suggest people in their 20s and 30s are lonelier than seniors

In 2010, The Mental Health Foundation in the U.K. found that loneliness was a bigger problem among the young than the old.  The 18-34 year-olds in an extensive study were more likely to feel lonely often, to worry about feeling alone and to feel depressed because of loneliness than those over 55.

Lynn Renwick would agree. Renwick runs a drop-in to help lonely youth in Newcastle, England in the summer, “Loneliness is not just an issue for older people in our community and many young people come to us for help to socialise with other young people." She said in an article for NE Connected online. 

So, if young people are lonelier right now than old people - how did this happen?

A look at some possible causes:

Social media makes us insecure

We're hearing about this all the time now. Numerous studies showing that rather than bring us closer, social media is making us feel more lonely and more insecure. 

A recent study shows that using Facebook makes young people feel bad. 

“On the surface, Facebook provides an invaluable resource for fulfilling the basic human need for social connection,” says U-M social psychologist Ethan Kross, lead author of the article and a faculty associate at the U-M Institute for Social Research (ISR).“But rather than enhance well-being, we found that Facebook use predicts the opposite result."

To be fair, Facebook may have these effects on young people, but it can have the opposite effect on the old!

In a study, seniors in residential care were trained to use social media and started using it to keep up with family, resulting in a decrease in their loneliness.

One lesson from this might be that Facebook will not reduce our loneliness if we use it to replace face-to-face time with our friends. According to the Lonely Society study in the U.K., spending time in-person, as in face-to-face with friends, produces the hormon oxytocin, which might be good for your heart as well as your feelings of well-being.

 

Young people are obsessed with being productive, even at the expense of time with friends

A recent study undertaken by the Mental Health Foundation in the U.K. found that for some young people, investing time in social activities is seen as less important than work.

People today feel pressure to be ‘productive’ and busy, and as a consequence neglect relationships with friends and family.

"Individuals pursuing aspirations in a market-driven world may be doing so at their own expense, and neglecting the basic human need to connect with others," says the Mental Health Foundation. 

There is a danger in this; making work more important for your time than friends and family is not a good choice for your health, your happiness, or even your lifespan! 

 

 

 

Why we need to prioritize friendships at every stage of our lives:

 

Spending time with friends will make you live longer

Scientists found that the loneliest were nearly twice as likely to die during their six-year study than the least lonely in a recent study. Compared with the average person in the study, those who reported being lonely had a 14% greater risk of dying. So loneliness has about twice the impact on an early death as obesity, or smoking 15 cigarettes a day!

Chicago psychologist John Cacioppo has been studying loneliness for decades, and he puts it bluntly, 

"No matter what social species you’re talking about, all the way down to fruit flies, if you isolate them they die earlier.”

 

Spending time with friends will make you healthier

More studies are coming out all the time showing how loneliness leads to high blood pressure, a weakened immune system, depression, heart attack and strokes.

In fact, loneliness and feelings of rejection activates the same parts of the brain as physical pain!

But those who spend time with good friends drink less alcohol, have healthier diets, and exercise more than lonely people, according to research.

 

Spending time with friends will make you happier

In one study, 42% of women polled felt depressed because of their loneliness. 

People who spend more time with friends find less fault with themselves and with those around them. They are significantly less likely to be depressed. In short, people who spend time with their friends are happier. 

 

Spending time with friends will save you money

One study showed that feeling lonely can make you spend more money, and be more frivolous in your spending. 

Maybe that's why it's called retail therapy?

On the flip side, spending time with friends is often rewarding but low cost - sure, you might go for dinner or drinks, but you can also just hang out, go to the park, go to the beach, or just have coffee - actually for more ideas, see this blog post. 

While there are some services and charities that are aimed to reduce loneliness in seniors, there are not currently such services existing for the younger generations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Why people are going online to make friends

Why people are going online to make friends

 

Why are people using the Internet to make friends?

  

"It's not as easy to make and keep friendships today as it used to be," says FriendMatch founder Katie Hartle, "people are looking to the Internet to solve this problem."

 

In the UK, a "National Campaign to End Loneliness" was created.

In the USA and Canada, the rising epidemic of loneliness is increasingly being covered in the news.

The impact of loneliness is more than just a social problem:

 Loneliness is creating an impact on the heatlh of men and women of all ages.

  Articles and studies are showing that lonely people have higher rates of inflammation and weakened immune systems, and that loneliness can increase the risk of premature death by 30%!

 In the United Kingdom, Loneliness is Worse Among Young People

 In 2010 the Mental Health Foundation found loneliness to be a worse among young people than the elderly. The 18 to 34-year-olds surveyed were more likely to feel lonely often, to worry about feeling alone and to feel depressed because of loneliness than the over-55s!

 

Coffees, book clubs, and dinner parties; interests of friend-seekers

In a study of 7,000 FriendMatch.com members, newly released data shows that members are using FriendMatch to make friends because they want to have more experiences: 

The main activities members were interested in:

54% of FriendMatch members analyzed would love to meet for coffee with their new friends.

23% of members are interested in joining a book club or wine club.

32% of FriendMatch members would like to have a dinner party with their new friends.

 

Who is making friends online:

43% of FriendMatch members are women between the ages of 18 - 29.

At the time of the study, Women made up approx. 63% of all FriendMatch members.

 Friend-seekers come from around the world, but the top three countries for members on FriendMatch, in order are:

1. United States  2. Canada  3. United Kingdom.

 

About FriendMatch.com

FriendMatch is an online service to help you meet real new friends, from your neighborhood or from around the world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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