Don’t Take the Treasure of Friendship for Granted

Friends: they celebrate our birthdays, pop a cork over our new jobs, become bridesmaids and best men at our weddings. But fewer of us have them. In the UK, around 20% of Britons have no close friends, including as many as 10% who have no friends at all. In the US, 35 percent of Americans over the age of 45 are chronically lonely. In Australia, a 2018 report found 1-in-3 Australians don’t belong to a friendship group.

What is causing this ‘friendship poverty’ and how can we fix it?

Romance’s Overlooked Sibling

“What is to blame for this devaluing of friendship?” Friendship Lab Founder Sheridan Voysey wrote in a column for The Times. “Romance. Or more precisely, our obsession with it. Captivating and provocative, romance’s presence in the room draws all eyes away from its less glamorous sibling.” We need to rectify this, I add, because to be a friend is a “holy calling as valid as parenthood or a career.”

Here are some other quotes from the article:

“If friendship is rarely written about, it is sung about even less. A scroll through our playlists proves it.”

“Yet friendship may be our most fundamental bond. When a business fails, family bonds break or romance flitters away, it is to our friends that we turn.”

“To be a close friend is a high and holy calling. Just ask the two in ten of us who long to have one.”

Requires subscription, or else read on social media