A Disturbing Number of Millennials Say They Have No Friends

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Some people may feel sorry for all the 23-to-38-year-olds out there today. They sound like a disadvantaged bunch.

A study published earlier this week, conducted by the dating site Match, concluded that some millennials don’t even feel they can afford to date in the first place. The survey of more than 5,000 men and women in that age group revealed that 21% believe they need to reach a certain income level in order to pursue a romantic relationship and that 30% feel that their financial instability is having a negative effect on their dating life.

That financial instability is substantial: Another recent survey, this one of 1,000 men and women in the same age group, by the financial advice site Money Under 30, found that some 45.7% of millennials receive regular monthly support from their parents, while 22% of them still live at home or get rent assistance from Mom and Dad. That said, there are certainly numerous examples of American cities where millennials own homes.

Now comes the latest bad news for the generation: 30% of the millennials polled by the market research and polling firm YouGov revealed that they feel lonely — and 22% said that they flat-out had no friends. Even some of those who did have friends replied that the had “no close friends” (30%) or “no best friends” (25%). In comparison, only 9% of baby boomers and 16% of Gen Xers complained of being friendless.

The poll offers no theories as to why millennials should feel so bereft, though it’s tempting to blame the phenomenon on increased screen time, and there is evidence that Facebook and other social media may add to loneliness and depression.

On the other hand, a 1990 meta-analysis called “Age Differences in Loneliness” pointed out that there are natural cycles in the ebbing and flowing of friendship, and that “loneliness was highest among young adults…[and] declined over midlife….”

Maybe millennials just need to get older.

Or maybe they need to take more time socializing. Like many generations before them, millennials are often accused of being lazy. Yet many young people have worked hard and created a new wave of businesses that have changed how people live — these are the 30 richest millennials