Real friends are dreadfully passé now that we’ve got social media.
Perhaps that’s the takeaway of two studies that says humans have fewer friends than ever, but are recouping lost emotional support by visiting Facebook.
ABC News reports on a Cornell study that says the number of “real” friends a person has has dropped from a whopping three all the way down to two since 1985.
A “real friend,” according to ABC, is someone who will “help us out in tough times, listen sympathetically no matter what, lend us money or give us a place to stay if we needed it, keep a secret if we shared one.”
Sounds a lot like grandpa!
The study quizzed 2,000 adults, asking them how many people they’d shared “important matters,” like who will be the Braves starting shortstop in 2012, during the past six months.
Sadly, 4 percent of those polled took the Simon & Garfunkel “I am an island” route and said zero. Forty-eight percent listed one close friend, 18 percent listed two and 29 percent listed more.
Social media is helping humans stay connected, however, says a Pew Research Center report. In fact, an active Facebook account is “equivalent to about half the boost in [emotional] support you get from being married,” says researcher Keith Hampton, who probably has some ’splaining to do after his wife reads this.
Despite the Pew paper, it’s important to remember that Facebook can’t pony up bail at 3 a.m. Only real friends can do that. Feel free to share that bit of wisdom with the 30 percent of young people that believe the Internet is more important than air and water.