Until fairly recently people had 'forced' social interactions when doing their finances, shopping etc. Even if involuntary they 'trained' people's social skills and withered away at their acquired/innate social anxiety.
Furthermore, even in these situations the persons you interacted with, the cashier at the supermarket, the bank teller, the shop assistant, were often there for a fairly long time, so that all those social-micro-transactions added up over the years. Yes, they were 'strangers', but stangers you to some extend 'knew' or where familiar with. Being around those made you less lonely.
Now you do your banking through an app and a teller machine, you shop online, and if we are to believe the proponents soon your pizza and beer will be delivered by a drone and your online groceries and other purchases by a self driving van. The few contacts in those situations you might still have are not with the same person, but with randos fulfilling a 0 knowledge scripted for efficiency procedure. These interactions can't compound into a latent unspoken social bond and thus contribute nothing to alleviating the feeling of loneliness.
When I was young I was very shy, painfully shy even into my early 20s. All social outings were family reunions or church.
But I liked computers. So in the early 1990s I bought a computer and tried this thing called the Internet.
By chance I discovered IRC. It was a world of strangers who interacted in real time. I could converse without facing or looking at a person. And at the time I used it for help when working on my PC so I'm a way it was forced interaction.
I've often thought if it wasnt for IRC and other Internet chat applications my life would be quite different. It helped crack my shell of shyness.
In a way you're right interacting with people is the key. But in my situation it was slightly different.
We've mostly burnt the bridge you used to get there.
In the 90s BBS's, IRC and even ICQ had sites to connect people where people would list interests etc, people had ICQ or other icons on their home page to connect and just randomly chat. BBS's and interest groups would have meet ups and yearly BBQs etc. There was an openness, perhaps a little naivety, to connecting with strangers who would eventually become close friends. There was a special sort of novelty being in a conversation with 3 people from all around the globe at the same time.
Now it seems to me much more about connecting up your existing networks. Friends on Facebook or whichever chat program, but not much for random new connections. Meetups are rarer too unless you've joined a local Facebook cycling group or similar. People aren't as open to connecting with the unknown as it's probably a scammer/spammer etc.
I can understand why my kid's generation might feel it's more difficult now. Especially if they don't have much in the way of existing networks.
Even though I never made friends online (as I was not so into it) I know friends who did.
I don't play online games any more, but my impression is they mostly moved from guild and group style like MMOs, where you got to know people and probably chatted on Teamspeak as well. Now they seem to be mostly random individual match-ups either for pvp or for a dungeon. That seems like it would take away many of the possibilities.
I'm not in the child age group, but I've made friends this way as a 31 year old.
This is different from most “social” platforms on the modern web. Reddit, twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, instagram, hackernews and so on are all global villages, operated by a centralized organ which doesn’t really moderate. So you have anarchy, no-familiarity, no structure and no real visible hierarchy.
When you were on IRC you’d meet the same people every day, you got to know them and they you. By contrast we probably won’t ever run into each other again once we finish this specific conversation. You might not even read my post unless you specifically chose to do so.
A lot of the internet is like this now, and there is really nothing social about most social media.
I believe the success of IRC is not due to the greatness of the tool but the userbase. It was pretty much university students world-wide and a few others. Similar behaviours, trainings, ideals etc. Facebook has a lot more diversity and thus conflict.
I'm currently on freenode #reprap right now, talking to 300 some different people. We're still doing exactly what you're nostalgic for. And, I've met a handful of them in person at 3d printing conventions. (Link: http://webchat.freenode.net/?channels=reprap to chat on IRC right now)
Just because shiny new thing's moved in, doesn't mean that the old thing still isn't in use!
I'm also the same nickname on freenode as I am here. And still cranky as ever!
Is it true ? i remember reading that game communities are a very good place to meet new friends. Is it true ? why ?
Also are there any other good places online ?
> Even if involuntary they 'trained' people's social skills and withered away at their acquired/innate social anxiety.
Humans don't have a shred of innate social anxiety except perhaps in some odd pathological cases. Any parent who has dealt with a toddler that has yet to learn to talk will tell you that much. Toddlers who can't speak yet try very hard to interact with their parents and whoever else they meet. They've a fascinating ability to get themselves understood by their parents.
Science will tell you that much too. Humans are basically hardwired to communicate. Intensely. So much so that if you gather a bunch of deaf kids together without supervision they invent their own sign language. 
With that being said, kids do learn (or unlearn ) things at school. Including how to "socialize" (or not).
This is not true at all. Baby's, even at a few months old, run the gamut from excited to meet new people to shy and withdrawn around strangers.
I have a friend whose son, at 6 months old, was well socialized but completely uneager to interact with people he didn't know.
And I've met plenty of toddlers who hide behind their parents and don't come out, and plenty of toddlers who run up to everyone they come across and say "hi".
Shyness and/or fear around strange adults is a healthy biological response. Even children raised in isolation and who show immediate fear of other new children are still quick to make friends when introduced to pre-school (a terrifying experience altogether).
Children who cannot be socialized effectively by around age four (5% of boys, a much smaller % of girls) usually end up punished explicitly by society in their later youth and early adulthood.
You're enabling your own prescription by making the problem easier, viz. reducing the problem of anxiety to "not feeling confident about the appropriate actions to take", which, I might add, is also a redundant claim since its taking an effect of anxiety and elevating it to the cause.
Anxiety, for most people, is not unsolvable but is just tedious because it often comes from multiple sources. I'm diagnosed bipolar, ADHD, OCD, you name it... I am no stranger to anxiety and the physical aspect of it which cannot be dealt with "logically".
But lack of confidence, in one's life, one's friends, one's job, one's ability, etc... this is a major source of anxiety in the modern world and is very treatable.
In a way, it boils down to “not feeling confident about words I say”, but the problem is I seem to overvalue bad outcomes, or at least think about them deeply rather than assume the very likely path will happen. Some of it is lack of a quick-witted theory of mind mapped to others (asd, add, who knows) and some is past trauma where many people I knew growing up did a lot of hurtful things. The weights on how must one feels they can trust the average person are very slow to change - and the what-ifs seem to come on nearly automatically.
I also have had problems with being too trusting in the past and lately I've been having social anxiety I thought I'd solved return because I've been trying to make conscious changes to my social behavior and it leaves me feeling lost sometimes when I have to ignore my instinctual response and then can't think of anything else to say.
It may comfort you to know that you aren't alone in feeling you need to reevaluate how much you trust those around you.
Social research in the last 3 decades has revealed that, in America, and thus probably other modernized countries, as late as the 80's, people when asked if they could trust most other people generally said that they felt they could. This is not the case anymore. Now, the average person will proclaim that most people are not not trustworthy. People are reporting less friends than ever. I personally have a quite small group of friends, after I carved out most of them after having 4-6k stolen from me in the last couple years from various people I once would consider friends.
Isolation and mistrust have been bred into our society in the last quarter-century, and it has had disastrous implications on our ability to open up to others. We are starting to feel the effects of this as, on a global scale, the isolation people are experiencing causes them to lose empathy and adopt zealous and hyperjudgemental attitudes.
Why has this been happening? What's the motivation? Well that's the homework assignment. ;)
I don't refer to tech devices as "smart" any more -- they are "stupid" phones and "stupid" speakers, because that's what they are going to do to people in the long run. Programmers shouldn't try to make computers think for people or automate too much, because even smaller thinking tasks are essential.
So, maybe it isn't making you dumber if you think about what you want to say and then pick the one that is closest or exact.
For it to work, your brain needs to recognize the activity and how it is supposed to work the proper way, so you can laugh about the wrong way done. And also learn about how to not do it like this. And simply relax and let go. Needed for the brain from time to time
(but like I said, I also have not seen those videos in a while.. and I like hikes in wild nature for relaxation)
Fail videos were just one example. Other examples are listicle videos, gossip videos, and general clickbait. AI tends to drive people towards consumption of mental junk food rather than making them smarter, better people.
I was thinking of building a little motor that can raise and lower the desk, ideally to a voice command. Wouldn't it be neat to say "<assistant of choice>, (raise|lower) the desk"?
Honestly, I'm going to scrap that project right now. While it would be interesting to learn how to build it, you're completely right we're getting lazier every day. Maybe I should be raising and lowering the desk myself.
Only trivially small ones that we'd do a few times a week. There's still lots of physical activity that we do (eg walking around, carrying things like shopping, sex, etc).
Plus, many people have replaced the small manual activities like opening car windows with going to the gym. Anyone who has a sedentary desk job but tries to live a relatively healthy lifestyle probably does far more activity than their parents would have done if they had desk jobs.
Not everywhere — one of the major reasons fitness (and BMI) is correlated with walkability of a city is that in many typical US cities, you barely have to walk anymore, while in the more walkable cities driving is less possible, and you’ll walk or cycle much more, and usually use transit more (which means walking to/from the stops).
All this adds up.
It's not so much that as that you CAN'T walk around in most cities. The last place I lived Walmart was several miles down the road which had no sidewalks and was trenches for water 3 inches from the road. No bike lanes, no nothing. It isn't that most of America is difficult to walk through, it is impossible (if you don't want to be hit by a car at least).
The weeks I am in Chicago I lose weight without really trying - simply from walking to/from the train every day and around the neighborhood running errands. Then of course lunch in the office which of course is another walk away. All those little walking trips add up to miles/day without even noticing and add up to a noticeable change in weight loss/gain.
Minneapolis it's rare to walk more than 100ft (to a car and back) to go anywhere - unless you make a concerted conscious effort to take time to walk for the sake of walking.
Living involves the acts of experiencing the real world and doing things for yourself.
There's really nothing stopping you from walking into a grocery store and talking to people if you want.
You could also go outside for a walk to get some exercise. You'll meet plenty of people along the way (unless you live in the middle of no where).
OP's point was that there's nothing forcing us to do those things, not that there are now barriers.
> You'll meet plenty of people along the way
If you talk to anyone walking/running in city centers prepare for harsh stares and people walking ever so slightly faster to get away from the presumably crazy guy. At least that's most definitely how I would react.
Currently living in Boston, MA. It's definitely not as usual as the Bay Area, people are significantly "colder" (for the lack of a better word) but I wouldn't say talking, or smiling to a stranger would be as weird as in Europe. Maybe LA is different than both the Bay Area and Boston area (although Boston being in itself significantly different than the Bay Area in the first place)
It doesn't matter if people aren't doing it as much. It only matters what you're doing.
If you goto the grocery store, or the bank, or a shop or anything like that, there's always going to be tellers handling customers. Your opportunities haven't gone away or have even been diminished.
Yes it does. Threads of society are being cut, which is not only causing loneliness, but also emotional distancing, political polarization, demonizing folks in other camps, etc.
The post I replied to mentioned specifically small talk with various clerks and tellers.
Those clerks and tellers are still there today, just like they were 20 years ago. If you walk into any of those stores listed, you'll find human beings present to have micro social interactions with.
I know because I was a teenager back in the mid/late 1990s (no cellphones back then) and I was super shy back then and talked to almost no one except for a small group of close friends. You can't really blame technology for being introverted. It's a lifestyle choice. There's nothing wrong with it too, but you need to be real with yourself and realize you're actively making the choice to live that way.
Nowadays there's an unlimited amount of chances to have micro-conversations. I see it (and do it) every day. I mean just today I went to the post office because I wanted to ship a box. It's a rare occurrence, but I saw some women standing on a separate line waiting for a passport. So I approached her and asked how long do passports last nowadays and we got to talking. Next thing you know, we're 1 minute into talking. It ended when they called her up, and that was it. Micro social interaction complete.
I think blaming technology is just a cop out. If you went to a concert or something, I'm sure you'd have an opportunity to talk to dozens of people, but if you choose to stand there with your face buried in a phone and not talk to anyone then you can't blame your phone for loneliness. It's on you.
Agreed, if we're talking about individual people blaming technology for their non-participation. But it's not a cop-out to say that society as a whole is being nudged away from social interactions, and that there are real negative effects on everyone.
Furthermore, there are large groups of people for whom the convenience of online shopping/banking/etc. far outweighs the cost of "getting out", even factoring in the real or perceived benefit of interacting with people at the store or bank -- people with small children, caregivers, poor people, invalids, etc. Although technology has improved quality of life for many such people, society as a whole suffers the effects of the loss of many personal micro-interactions with them and the gradual social fragmentation that results.
Oh, tech doesn't prevent one from seeking out social interaction. But it really does seem to reduce unplanned & opportunistic interaction.
Maybe I'd chat with people on my way to work. Problem is, they're most likely sitting in a car. Or riding a bike. Or blasting music from their headphones while staring at their phones.. actually, maybe I'm sitting in a car too. Or not, because technology enables remote work and I don't have a commute.
Same phenomenon when I go for a walk or jog. People are preoccupied with their devices.
Sweeping changes like cars vs walking is definitely a big deal but let's not forget about trains too. Technology allows us to group together for decent amounts of time. Every time I take the train to Manhattan there's hundreds of new faces for a ~90min trip each way. I almost always end up in a conversation with someone for a majority of the ride.
A few weeks ago I flew to CA and had ~6 hours of flying in either direction. Ended up talking to a few people (layovers, etc.) and had in depth conversations. Technology helped with that too.
> Same phenomenon when I go for a walk or jog. People are preoccupied with their devices.
I walk ~4 miles a day and have been for 5+ years. There's plenty of opportunities to talk to people and I don't even live in a big city, just a medium populated suburban area in the US. If I really wanted to, I could talk to 15 or 20 people a day. That's just walking past other people walking or people hanging out for lunch outside of the main mini-town area, etc..
If it were a populated area like Manhattan, there would be thousands of opportunities in a few hour time span. Just an endless sea of people waiting to be approached.
So far, I'm just really sad and lonely, but that's a good thing, because I was already feeling that way, I was just suppressing it with technology.
I'm checking out communities in my area that meet up regularly. Most of my friends hang out very rarely, and I'd like to meet people and join organizations that meet up on a regular basis.
Also have been working on my social skills and limiting beliefs: learning to make small talk, remember people's names, and recognizing unkind thoughts about myself, which create anxiety and prevent me from beginning or continuing conversations -- and choosing to think kinder, more constructive thoughts instead.
The big "aha" moment for me was realizing, there was an age for me (about 9 years old) when I wasn't shy at all! Because I didn't have all these shitty beliefs about myself. So I've been exploring them, and letting them go.
Chase can't seem to get emails alerts for my son's CC working. Well, they work everywhere but gas stations. They have a category of alerts for gas stations, so there's just some bug somewhere. I've spent hours trying to get them to fix it, and the conversations are always unpleasant.
This isn't the only interaction like this. I've had similar ones with other banks, Google, and other companies in the last last. All negative. All because automation is failing to do something important.
That's a pretty terrible ending, if the only time we talk to humans will be to correct mistakes that software/hardware make.
What have we wrought?
I recently began doing a job that requires me to smile at and greet strangers all day long, and I found myself doing this automatically off the job as well. So now I find myself having pleasant interactions with supermarket staff, and looking forward to saying hello to them.
The other day, after taking the automatic checkout out of habit, I realized that I had missed a great opportunity to connect with another human being, by choosing to use the machine instead. Then I thought, all of society seems to be headed in this direction, and it seems sad.
On the other hand, making life more efficient in this way does free up the time we previously had to spend interacting with strangers, and we are now free to use that time to create deeper, more meaningful connections with friends.
For the habit of social interactions, I have an anecdote:
I rarely go out, I was invited to a friend 30th birthday, went there quite nervous, wasn't happy most of the time, bored etc etc. The next day I felt in a much improved mood. I believe that even when slightly negative, being surrounded with people, the random thoughts of everybody, etc has a very profound effect on your brain that reset or refill something that you can't when you're alone, even if you're doing 80% of things you like and enjoy uninterrupted.
For time freed, at least you're using it for friend time :)
Believe it or not there are plenty of other cultures that have access to the same technology but don't produce the extreme isolation that's common in the US. There's much more powerful forces at work here than online banking and ecommerce. The reality is that in the US and likely the UK traditional social networks and graces have disintegrated. It's a cultural issue which is mostly deliberate.
I think urbanization also plays a huge part in the trend. I grew up in a rural area, with pretty much most of my family located within a two-hour drive. This included my mom's side, who all grew up an hour away from where I did (which is where my dad's family is from). So it was easy for me to connect with family and friends, and I knew a lot of their friends' kids, etc.
Urbanization is changing this, though. People are leaving the rural areas (and for good reasons admittedly), but it's destroying the bonds that they form during their childhood and that continue across generations in some cases. Even a short stint away of 4 years, like what I did when I left to go to University, can make the connections difficult to reactivate when you come home (especially based on difference of shared experiences with those who didn't go to university, or who went somewhere local instead of out-of-state, etc.). And that's assuming your friend group from high school/right after stays around and doesn't leave the area themselves.
And, when you get to a new city, especially if it's after university (where you're forced to interact with people and where it's fairly easy to make friends), there's a good chance of knowing so few people it makes it difficult to enter social circles that don't involve work. Having hobbies definitely helps with this, but that also depends on having money in a lot of cases, and time in all cases.
The variables with the largest regression coefficients predicting loneliness in this study , were poor neighborhood safety (.61), being single (.47, even with children .50). Being married most strongly protected against loneliness (−.42).
I'd bet modern day loneliness is mostly caused by an interplay globalization/automation, stagnating growth and gender equality. All of them diminish the need for all kinds of social interactions in a big way. With improving welfare and increasing economic independence, women less likely need to find a reliable partner. Careerism forces them to marry late (or not at all) and makes men less appealing to them. Simultaneously, globalization and automation are destroying local economic opportunities, thereby lowering the social value of men even more. Deteriorating economic prospects lead to more crime, decreased neighborhood safety…
Remember the 90s? You're waiting in a parking lot to go caving. "Where's Will?" "I don't know." "Call his house, there's a payphone over there." "His mom said he left 30 minutes ago." "Well I guess we'll just wait for him."
Today we can use speech-to-text to quickly tell people we're running late, organize impromptu outings very quickly and probably end up hanging out more. Even those with families and kids probably find it easier to organize events with other families thanks to shared group chats.
I wouldn't be surprised if these two things aren't really correlated and part of me wonders if our interaction may have gone up and our loneliness also gone down. If that's true, it could be more of an indication of us not _really_ talking to one another. Maybe there is less we can say today, or there are other factors that, in the age of acceptance and commodified outrage, make use feel more isolated.
A find thought, another really big factor should be online dating (Tinder, OKCupid, Grinder, POF, etc). Are people romantically lonely? Do average individuals have a harder time now that everything has been reduced to an image? I personally have observed that online dating really only works for attractive people, and for everyone else it's pretty much a wasteland.
I tried OKCupid a while ago, and came away with the impression that most people have their profile filled with political shibboleths. Maybe that's just because I live in a major coastal city, but...
OKC for ideology.
POF if you like your partner skewed to the wrong aspect ratio.
The messages and profiles most men do on these sites are awful. You don't have to work that hard to stand out from the crowd.
In fact my most recent OKC experience went like this - reviewed all the women in this city (it's not a large city and it's not in America so this is quite possible), picked the one I liked the most, messaged her. Got a reply the next day, first date a few days later.
That said, Tinder is pretty useless for men. But then you can't send high quality messages and the UX makes it annoying to view profiles, so what a big surprise. The number of women who post Tinder profiles saying they don't want hookups is ridiculous - the entire app is optimised for nothing but that. They should be on more traditional dating sites; I suspect they can't be bothered writing or reading profiles however.
Before everyone had a cell phone we didn't need to "make plans" every time we wanted to hang out. Hanging out with friends was just what you did.
I don't know how it is today.
What they call the loneliness epidemic these days is a bit like that. In fact,I would say loneliness is social imprisonment. For one reason or the other individuals end up lacking the skills needed to develop meaningful social relationships,the opportunities are there but the skills are lacking.
Much like becoming institutionalized, prolonged loneliness becomes a dependency in itself. At first you try everything you can to escape from the prison,then you learn to tolerate it,then you can't function outside of it.
I said all this to make one important point: For most people who experience prolonged loneliness,It's not lack of solutions or opportunities that keeps them lonely.
Not just in the US or the west but for all people,the importance of teaching children proper social skills needs to be communicated much like communicating the importance of good nutrition and hygeine has reduced preventable diseases throught the world.
For adults,I honestly don't know of any solution other than to continue creating opportunities for social interactions. It takes a lot of time,patience and practice to learn to make more friends and socialize once you settle down as a working adult.
I'm willing to put in a lot of work and have had great success at things where there is a clear goal and highly probable success if I put in the work: weight loss, fitness, studying, career changes, financial management, running a business etc. Relationships are so irritating to me because acquisition is a probabilistic, even random process which seems to have a very low success rate. I'm not fundamentally sold on the idea that it's worth the effort.
Thankfully some of my friends did move back after going to school, so there are a few people here that I can hang out with, though I do feel like I hound them to do stuff/hang out at times. But, I also moved a half-hour away to a town where there's stuff to do, and I just have to actually take up a new hobby to meet interesting people.
Though that still doesn't change the fact that it's difficult to make long-term, deep friendships from things like that.
Really, I just say that I understand completely where you're coming from, and completely agree.
Also, I just kinda realized that this is also similar to the plot of the movie I Love You, Man, where Rudd's character realizes he doesn't have any deep male friends.
At this point I’ve resigned to believing that the types of people I attract don’t want to stay here, and maybe I should just follow the herd.
A Dad or Mom will want to interact with a baby. In a daycare situation it's their job to interact with the babies. And at times if a baby isn't causing a problem, they are left alone.
Could it be an early connection is being missed?
Even when they have the time, many normal activities are now forbidden. Parents don't leave teenagers home alone on weekends anymore. House parties are unheard of. Teenager-friendly places like arcades, malls, even local movie theaters are disappearing. And the personal transport, cars, that once knitted teenage culture together are disappearing. Cars are expensive, risky, and put kids in more regular contact with police than is safe. So they stay home. All of these things are replaced by the new malls: whatsapp and snapchat.
Teenagers are not being drawn to smartphones, they are fleeing to them,
I was thinking about my youth the other day. Back then (around 2005) in Germany we had youth clubs ("Jugendclubs"). A shared space where the local youth would come together almost daily - in many places these youth clubs where supervised by a someone best described as a municipal social worker, who would open and close the place at specific times. However the youth in my town was lucky enough to have a youth club without supervision, apart from the occassional visit by a municipal offical. A safe space away from parental oversight, open to anyone, but in practice resulted in a large group of tightly knit boys and girls between 16 and early 20s.
We met daily, had discussions, parties, started DJ'ing, had to keep the place clean, TV, gaming, BBQs, drinking, you name it - where there problems from time to time? Sure. To much noise, the occassional drunk. However there was a lot of responsibility involved as we had to solve any issues with neighbors and municipal officials ourselves, we had to keep the place in shape, do chores around the house/garden, renovate from time to time, had to gather and prepare wood for the winter (the place was heated by an oven/chimney).
I understand that we were lucky with this rather generous, liberal arrangement, but I guess it would be unthinkable today, and I simply don't see the local youth meeting at alternative spots, like public areas.
I do think smartphones are a lot of the problem. The kids have grown up not having to interact with anyone, so they rarely do. And they also don't know how, since they never had to learn. It's funny, as you can usually tell which students got their phones first from how they interact with other students.
And they still do hang out together a decent amount. Going to school sporting events, playing Fortnite at each other's houses, going out to eat, or even partying each weekend.
I see the loneliness issue creeping up more in the urban areas for the reasons listed above, actually. Or with those who grow up in an area and then leave it. Even if they come back, not all their friends will, and the people who stayed will have vastly different life experiences, which makes it difficult to make friends.
While I do see smartphones being an issue, as here kids don't really want to talk with each other but just be on their phones, even when "hanging out". That's what increases loneliness. Despite hanging out and doing stuff together, they're not interacting with each other nearly as much, nor on as deep a level.
There are just more men now than ever it seems, and it's really exaggerated in the Western US tech cities. When I go out, I sometimes count and I'll see 20 men to 1 woman at places.
So go out, socialize, get away from your bubble, and meet other people.
Total number of females in the entire population != the number of reproductive aged heterosexual women within my particular socioeconomic level that are single and seeking a relationship. That number is absolutely tiny in comparison. And with even the slightest convolution for racial or looks preference it's down to maybe a few thousand individuals out of millions in a major metro area.
For people between 18 and 44, the number of men very closely matches the number of women. So, ignoring polyamory, the the proportion of singles across America must be very gender-equal. Since that shows that the proportion of singles in cities in male-skewed, the proportion of singles elsewhere must be female-skewed.
You can have the same number of men and women and the older women have a hard time finding a man and the young men have a hard time finding a woman.
It makes sense if you think about older men and younger women being able to easily match up and older women and younger men not being able to find anyone.
I'd guess also more men than women migrate to the US for work.
Men used to die in large number from war and work, not so anymore.
So here we are.
The ratio of men to women in the US is almost exactly 50/50 (with a slight bias to women!) In fact, that ratio has gone down in favor of women over the years, which invalidates your last point. And unless you live in a select few states this holds true.
Instead of there being a secret gender imbalance cover up, it seems much more likely to me that cities with large tech industries (like NYC) are just swimming with sausage.
Even if true, this means nothing w.r.t. men struggling to find women. Like with most other things in life, a few good (looking) men, rich men, charismatic men disproportionately (get to) date several women, whereas most (,not all) women tend to be loyal to 1 guy , so that leaves a lot of men with no potential mate...
Natural selection at it's finest.
 Because society says that if a man has many women, he is a 'Casanova' / 'Player' whereas if a woman has many men, she's labelled a 'Hoe' / 'Bimbo'. So women, even if they desire to be with more than 1 man at a time, either suppress it, or do it very discretely.
I often wonder if it's society saying it, or if it's reality (e.g. our biology or plain logic) saying it and our society just echoing. For example, society is saying that you should brush your teeth, but science is also saying that, so it's a good thing that society is echoing and amplifying the message.
For the specific example you mentioned, I think it's very likely that society is just echoing what biology is dictating, which is that men have sex/children with as many women as they can, and women to select as good genes for their few children as they can.
When checking out the norms for men when writing my own profile I never saw any men as detailed about their physical requirements, interestingly.
But you aren't kidding about women's preferences on dating sites. They can actually go on and on and on, sometimes numbering fifty or sixty necessary traits. By contrast, what does a man want? Aside from political men who need a competent hostess, I think just about every man wants:
1. A woman who is passably attractive.
2. A woman who isn't crazy.
That's about it, but damn that narrows down 3.5 billion women mighty fast.
I never saw as many as that myself but a dozen or more wouldn’t be unusual. A few might be reasonable such as “must love dogs” but nearly all would be materialistic, or physical traits that no one has any control over. I imagine the authors of these elaborate lists also complain bitterly to anyone who’ll listen that “there are no decent men”.
And I never, ever saw a man list the bra size or handbag brand his match should have...
There is a huge shift taking place in society, and while I don't think it is a bad thing, there will certainly be a lot of discomfort while society adapts.
Founders get together to mastermind, hike and support each other about once a month.
We have some really successful and amazing Founders.
Nature is it’s own medicine, the community is great, and the wisdom runs deep.
NYC / SF and chapters forming in other cities.
Email me if you’d like to join, and I’ll gift you a ticket.
Maybe the world "mastermind" is throwing me off, but how do you prevent something like this from devolving into "yet another networking activity"?
There's value in stepping out of the always-on, startup culture and interacting with the other half.
These are hand curated and I’ve been building communities for over 20 years across a variety of disciplines.
We also have our own Island to adventure and co create on! Majagual.org
Why does it have to be a “founders” hike? Why can’t people just fucking get together and hike?
More importantly, please don't be rude on HN.
It’s founders because it allows for entrepreneurs to connect around challenges specific to their lives.
I’m confused as to why this bothers you — no one is saying you can’t go on a hike or start your own group.
Nor does it mean non-founders can’t like to hike. I’m simply offering a group that I run that is already running as an option for folks here - many of which are founders.
Well, I don't doubt that some rich people are very lonely....I doubt you actually come into contact with them.
Feel like you're just a wannabe Bill Campbell. I went to your site - you sell Ultimate T-shirts.
I was also the founding cohost of Summit.co
I created The Love Game (PlayTheLoveGame.com)
AnthonyDavidAdams.com has a video of me coaching the founder of Ben & Jerries, but most of my work is of course confidential.
What I find interesting is that a free offering to help someone that is feeling lonely is met with such vitriol and projection.
But I’ve found that there are certain problems and issues that come up for founders that non-founders can’t really support.
But you just remember the MST3K advice: "Just repeat to yourself, it's just a show. I should really just relax."
It's a hyper-idealized version of reality intended to highlight ridiculous situations, not an accurate representation of life.
I was too young to notice but I heard the 90s described as prudish as an impact of AIDS. So not having to worry about the spectre of AIDS even if it was less "expel kids with AIDS from school and deny straight people can get it" hysteria.
Thanks to dating applications in major cities (NYC, Paris, London, Bangkok, Shanghai) it's possible for a reasonably attractive man to go on multiple dates a night for weeks on end.
There's also literally endless functions, meetups and places to hang out... if you can afford it.
Outside of the cities, particularly in the US, it's shocking how mechanical and isolated people become. The combination of religion withering away and increasing technological automation means "small-town living" -- with mutually interdependent neighbors gathering each week at Church -- is dead and gone. In its place you find isolated exurb drug-addled dystopias. It's a bit horrifying.
I think you may have spent more time reading Atlantic articles and listening to documentary podcasts about small town America than you’ve actually spent in it.
It is still alive and well, in pretty much the way you describe, in many/most small towns.
Well, fucking and finding friends is not the same.
I highly recommend finding something you're sincerely interested in doing, and then finding a group to do that thing with. Could be cycling, robot building, 3d printing, softball, etc. I've had the best luck when it is an event that is not generally attractive to people trying to "network" or hook up, etc; not that it's a problem if some people there are doing those things, but if that's what the majority are doing it detracts from the atmosphere for me, and you, too, from the sound of it.
There are thousands and thousands of books and papers written on American individualism at the root of our very superficial friendships since the early 20th century. A quick Google search returns books that date to the 1970s on the very topic.
How many of your friends have only been along for a part of your life journey and then you lose touch and grow apart? We are driven to pursue our dreams and passions and become as successful as we can in whatever we think that means for us.
I mean, we're the country that invented the nursing home, complete with the expression, "you're born alone and you die alone."
Maybe a MOOC which taught courses like:
- How to arrange an outing with friends: logistics and communication
- How to follow up after you've just met someone
- How to loop a new person into a conversation among folks who know each other
- How to continue a conversation after someone said something awkward about the ever-present march of time and our bodies' unstoppable march toward death
- How to help a friend talk through a problem which is emotionally distressing for them
- How to introduce a friend to someone you think they might be romantically compatible with
- How to tell exceedingly dorky jokes with excellent timing so as to put someone at ease
Or other things.
https://theartofcharm.com/ - more personal connections
https://advancedhumandynamics.com/ - more business networking
Unfortunately, it's not as easy as just quitting. When I stopped using Facebook at the start of this year, my loneliness got much higher.
There's less ways to meet people outside of the internet now. For awhile, I was visiting a hacker-space outside of $WORK, but everyone is already involved with everyone else and it's tough to break into a social circle.
Maybe if you live your life in Facebook you don’t have as much to talk about with your friends when you interact in person?
As I have traveled, I have noticed a lot of further examples of technology doing the same. Especially in countries with less wealth, people go outside and share public spaces/activities/infrastructure with each other more, and that seems to have a lot of positive externalities.
I really enjoy living in developing nations because you can actually just live. You can go buy some random food from somebody selling stuff off the street, pick up a beer or two..., and go sit down by a lake beside the street and have a little picnic type thing with a friend -- or even cast a fishing line out or go for a swim if the mood strikes. Enjoy yourselves, clean up after yourself, be considerate of others, and nobody cares what you do -- as it should be.
There are many people out there with depression and who struggle with this everyday. Some people joke about it as a coping mechanism. But too many people are latching onto it as a joke, and I think they're turning it into their own reality. Seemingly everyone my age "jokes" all the time about wanting to die and it's becoming "normal" humor. That can't be healthy.
There is an important difference between being connected in a shallow digital sense and being emotionally connected. Staring at screen looking at attention seeking pictures and clips from peers and then clicking on a like button or writing a comment is not going to come even close to something that will leave participants feeling spiritually connected.
I think for a large part the Internet is replacing television. Is there a suggestion that those spending over two hours/day online (correlating more in the report with loneliness) are being affected by the medium or content or they're just using PC rather than TV?
I'd wager that car use is also up significantly too. Better roads, better cars, more two-car families (28% of US households have more cars than people), kids not walking to school...
The parents are not overprotective, or rather in a very specific way.
If that is so - (I'm just speculating here) - what we're seeing now is just the beginning of a trend that will continue for a very long time.
Even apps like LivingSocial seemed to fizzle out relatively quickly, but mostly-messaging-and-narcissism apps like Instagram/Snapchat are the ones that came to stay. A part of me still wants to believe that some app that did nothing but match people (friends or otherwise) for in-person events could actually buck this trend of loneliness, but a directly adjacent part of me thinks that after a seed round or two, or some press, that same app would just find some way to actually make the problem worse.
What a time to live in, humanity has access to the greatest amount of knowledge it's ever had, and we're have the greatest ability to connect to each other that we've ever had, yet somehow loneliness is rising.
The short of it is that any platform you build to make friends (at least if you take the naive approach and just build a dating app for friends) turns into a dating platform. It certainly matches how I interested I am in new people I meet online despite having a partner already. My hypothesis is that you typically have friendships with people of the same sex in a group (I certainly hear about people hanging out with "the lads" or "the girls" more than I hear about them hanging out one-on-one with same sex friends) and that isn't something any dating-app-for-friends has provided thus far.
My guess is that such a feature will be abused by some men who send messages to a large number of women, causing them to feel harassed by the onslaught and leave. Then the straight men notice that there are fewer and fewer women, so they stop using it as well. Then the people left over are mostly gay men.
I think this is largely true.
And the followup is that any dating platform [that shows even a hint of success/growth] tends to turn into a platform for scammers and spammers.
I think you’re conflating ‘lonely’ and ‘alone’. Wanting to be alone is healthy, wanting to be lonely would be very unhealthy.
It’s the difference between wanting to sit by the fire and wanting to be burned - the latter invites/desires pain and harm.
A tangentially related article that this brings to mind: http://julesboykoff.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Boykoff_L...