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Despite having hundreds of connections on social media, Australians have half the amount of close friends compared with a decade ago.

Alison Brook, national executive officer for Relationships Australia told The Daily Telegraph that as a population Australians are more time poor with many households having all adults in employment with less time for community engagement and neighbourhood connections.

“We are suffering from a loneliness crisis in our community,” Ms Brook said.

According to a June OmniPoll survey of 1200 Australians, people on average have 3.9 close friends now, as opposed to 6.4 in 2005.

The results of this Omnipoll survey found the number of people who say they have no close friends they could visit without an invitation has gone from 7% in 1984 to 12% in 2005 and 17% today.

Labor frontbencher Andrew Leigh has told Sky News that loneliness is a public health issue and must be taken seriously.

Digital expert Kristy Goodwin said the infiltration of technology was partly to blame for fewer personal connections and deep friendships.

“We’re spending more time on our screens which means there is less time for social interaction,” she told The Daily Telegraph.

New mums need real friends

Relationship expert Dr Nikki Goldstein told nine Honey, “We think we’re catching up with our friends but we’re really just scrolling on a feed. So we’ve lost the art of catching up for a coffee and saying, ‘Well, what’s going on?’

“We still need these personal connections… we still need to have that support system that isn’t online.”

Ebony Gaylor from the Australian Red Cross also told nine Honey, “We need to step back and think ‘what does this relationship really mean?’ We need to step back from those 300 Facebook friends to say ‘how satisfied are we with those relationships?’ and if we aren’t happy then that’s the trigger for us to experience loneliness”.

“We can’t be relying on online friends. We need real ones.”

Constance Hall once shared some advice she received from a wise lady that said to her, “Do you realise that your not supposed to be doing this on your own? We are all supposed to be doing this together, we need to bring the village back.”

At the time Constance shared her post I explained how it left me in tears revealing that I had lost my own mum and therefore felt like I had lost my village.

I think the message about building your village is exactly what midwives, doctors, OBGYN’s need to be drumming into parents, they need that village, so then it is not such a long and lonely road.

Mum’s (and dad’s), go out and surround yourself with that village. You will be so thankful once you make that first move.

Don’t scroll through Facebook thinking that is your only option.

How many close friends do you have left?

Share your comments below.

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  • Still have many friends, some since my childhood and others interstate, that we regularly visit or visit us and talk on the phone in the interim as well as neighbours and work friends too. Don’t have Facebook or any other social media as I am too busy with my life for it.

    Reply

  • I only have about 8 or 9 friends on facebook. One lives overseas (we went to school and netball together), 2 others live in country areas, 2 are emergency service volunteers, and a couple of other friends who I know in person, and one relative I’ve never met but have others who have. I’m also a member of 2 closed medical support groups. One is a condition I suffer from and the other a relative suffers from and that one has special dietary requirements.

    Reply

  • This is very true and was hard to read as it hits close to home. I lost all my few close friendships after suffering debilitating PTSD after a car accident when my twins were young and then it was compounded with PND&A after my second pregnancy/3rd child. So many mother’s groups already have their cliques by the time their baby is born as they join Mum groups with pregnant. That combined with constant illness with my premmies, and the ongoing anxiety battle that holds me back from a lot of things, I’ve had trouble making close friendships again :-(

    Reply

  • Play groups where you can meet other mums are plentiful and easy to join.

    Reply

  • It’s really important to join a mothers group if you can. Those friendships and support are critical during your childs first few years at least.

    Reply

  • I still have close friends that I meet sometimes for coffee it’s good to catch up and learn new things from other mums

    Reply

  • I lost most of my friends when I became a mum. It’s been even harder to make new friends. We moved three times after my first child & have only just started to feel comfortable where currently living. I’ve started to make other mummy friends but it’s not easy & everyone is busy with their own families.

    Reply

  • What a sad question to ask ….how may close friends do you have left? I think there are always loaners out there but normally you make new close relationships with other new Mums and family’s not loose your existing friends.

    Reply

  • I moved just before I had my first baby and it was tough but I fought against my natural instincts and put myself out there and slowly created my new village.

    Reply

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