Loneliness is a problem, and one may respond to that by saying that one should go out and spend time with friends. But what happens if one does not have friends? Such is a question being faced by many Millennials now, as according to a new study reported by FOX News, nearly one quarter of Millennials have no friends.
Social media-savvy millennials may make up the loneliest generation in America, according to a new survey by market research firm YouGov.
The poll of 1,254 adults aged 18 and older found that 27 percent of millennials have no close friends, 25 percent have no “acquaintances” and 22 percent — or 1 in 5 — have no buddies at all. This compares with only 9 percent of Baby Boomers and 15 percent of Gen Xers who reported having zero chums.
A third of the 20- and 30-somethings also reported feeling lonely often or always, compared with 20 percent of Gen Xers and 15 percent of boomers. (Sext-happy Gen Z was not included in the survey results, nor was the older Silent Generation.) (source)
It is too simplistic to say this is because Millennials are “losers” who cannot make friends. It is a reflection of the changing social dynamics, where people are isolated more than they ever have before, and where human interaction has been substituted with sitting in front of a machine or talking through a screen.
Human beings are social, and while computers and the Internet are wonderful things, they are no substitute for person-to-person interactions. While online dating has exploded, marriage and having children have notably declined, and this is likely related. People can meet in the virtual world, but there is always something else that happens in person, especially if the meeting is casual. When one is in another person’s presence, one must interact directly in a physical way with him. All five senses are present in some way, and while one will likely not use all five of them, one cannot divorce oneself from the sight, touch, smells, movement, and feel of that person, for good or for bad. These things can be uncomfortable, but they are what make interactions human because they are extensions of who we are as individuals.
The Internet has reduced human interactions to something like a process through a computer- it does stuff, but it removes the human aspect largely from it. People can perform most functions, but something is missing, which are the small details that make up life.
People may have thousands of “friends” on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, or other social media platforms, but no friends because they have no interaction with others. They have the feeling of living without live, and the sense of community or connection while isolated in their own world, cut off from the rest of civilization.
This is not just a Millennial problem. Given the trends, it is likely that the Zoomers will be even worse. It is just that the trend first affected the Millennials because of the time in which the Internet came into existence.
A trend that one will need to look to for the future will be, as it is in every generation, but this time with possibly more vigor, is a search for meaning among the peoples of the world as they are removed from their communities and placed into a virtual land that exists without existing, floating in time but not being part of it, where there is no past or future, but all moments are a mundane and mutating present not connected to what came before or what will come.
The human race faces a crisis of meaning, and this will only continue with the rise of technology that, while promising freedom, always resulting in the stripping of man of his freedoms and reducing him to an animal, functioning upon his impulses and keeping his eyes moving from task to task without giving him the respect or time to truly examine what the tasks are and why he is doing them.