LOS ANGELES - Loneliness seems to be a defining factor of the millennial generation.
A recent YouGov study reported that 30 percent of millennials say they always or often feel lonely, a higher percentage compared to their Gen X and Baby Boomer counterparts.
Additionally, 25 percent of millennials in the poll say they have no acquaintances, 27 percent say they have no close friends and 30 percent say they have no best friends. 22 percent of the millennials surveyed report that they have zero friends.
While the research didn’t necessarily examine the cause behind the millennial generation’s seemingly chronic loneliness, the study points to earlier studies that determine social media and the internet as potential influences. One particular study from the University of Pennsylvania found a link between social media use and decreased well-being.
Excessive social media use may be just one of the reasons that some Americans are feeling lonelier.
YouGov’s study found that 31 percent of Americans say they find it difficult to make friends. 53 percent attributed shyness as the cause, while another 27 percent say that they “don’t feel like they need friends.” Similarly, 26 percent of those who find it difficult to make friends say they don’t have any hobbies or interests that can facilitate friendships.
The study isn’t too dismal, however. It reports that despite perceived obstacles, friendships are still being forged. 42 percent of Americans say they’ve made a new friend within the last six months.
Even the loneliest generation, the millennials, is doing well in this regard: 38 percent report that they have made a new friend in the last six months. 70 percent of millennials report that they have at least one best friend, and 49 percent say they have between one and four “close friends.”
The study, which looked at 1,254 adults age 18 and older, did not report data for Gen Z or for the oldest adults in the country.