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When It Comes To Friends, Most Of Us Have Two [AUDIO]

Darren McCollester, Getty Images

You may have thousands of “friends” on facebook, but when it comes to people you confide in, how many would you say you have?

A new study finds that Americans’ lists of the close confidantes has shrunk to two, down from three confidantes 25 years ago. The study also found that the number of us who have zero has not increased over that time.

Female participants and those who were educated were the least likely to report no names on their confidante list. “I’m not surprised,” said Rutgers Sociology Professor Deborah Carr. “Men often won’t turn to their friends to discuss important things, they’ll turn to their wives,” she said. “Less educated people tend not to turn to their friends, but their brothers, sisters, moms or dads and the people around them on a regular basis.”

“Women are raised to be good listeners and to talk about their feelings and they’ll do it much more willingly,” said Carr. “Sometimes men don’t feel safe divulging private things, including private things that may not reflect well upon them. Men often are much more likely to confide in their wives about important matters.”

When the study looked at the number of ‘socially isolated,’ the people who listed zero friends, 64% indicated that it was because they had no topic to discuss while 36% said they had no one to talk to.

Are we becoming less social? Researchers say that’s not the case at all. Our networks are just getting smaller overall. Basically, we’re classifying a smaller proportion of our networks as suitable for important discussions.

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