It can be hard to make friends as adults:
People often feel like it’s hard to make friends as an adult because, quite frankly, it is. When we are in college or technical school, we have a community made for us and we share common goals and interests. We spend time each day or week together. You don’t have to look far for peers because they are all around you. Once young adults have transitioned to living on their and working full-time, the social networks are less obvious. You may have friends at work or you may not. In addition, you may be living in a new place where you lack historical connections to people or a familiar community. Be shy and/or suffering from social anxiety doesn’t help either. Millennial loneliness and depression is real and a challenge to cope with.
Social media increases millennial loneliness:
Women in particular are socialized to develop a sense of themselves based on their relationships. These interpersonal networks help define us and give us purpose. Social media increases loneliness: women have superficial contact with others, often based on short text exchanges, photos or quick responses. Girls and women are developing an inner notion of who they are based on the number of likes they have and how engaged they are online with others. Ultimately, these ways of relating with others are less satisfying than in-person conversations, time spent together and sharing real time experiences.
Aim for Balance:
To build a community, aim for balance between social media and real time interactions. Folks need a few friends, not an entire posse, to feel like they matter and make a difference. Meet up with friends and talk in person more than texting, Snapchat or Instagram conversations. Pursue what interests you and join a club, take a class or volunteer for an organization. By participating in these activities, you’ll make natural relationships, share experiences and build a stronger sense of self to feel less lonely and more fulfilled.
Watch Dr. Saline’s advice on depression, loneliness and teens and millennials.