Less and Less Community
What's an Extrovert to do?

Article Excerpt:

Americans are more socially isolated than they were 20 years ago, separated by work, commuting and the single life, researchers reported on Friday.
Nearly a quarter of people surveyed said they had "zero" close friends with whom to discuss personal matters. More than 50 percent named two or fewer confidants, most often immediate family members, the researchers said.

Link: American's circle of close friends shinking
Annette, Tuesday, 6-27-06 6:15 PM
re: Less and Less Community
Is this true for most of us? I have about 2 close friends. What are the stats for other people. The article suggests that more flexable work schedules would help the problem... do you agree?
Lisa, Thursday, 6-29-06 5:15 PM
re: Less and Less Community
Before answering that, I think we need to settle on the definition of a "close friend". That definition greatly sways the numbers. I suspect that, by the definitions used in the article, most of us have more than the two or fewer close friends.
David, Friday, 6-30-06 11:46 AM
re: Less and Less Community
Close friend= non-related person who you get together with frequently(weekly) outside of scheduled events and could impose upon at a moments notice.
That would be my definition... and one that I think lines up with the intentions of the article.
Lisa, Saturday, 7-1-06 2:46 PM
re: Less and Less Community
I would agree wholeheartedly if you had defined a close friend "as a person with whom one gets together frequently outside of scheduled events who is willing to be imposed upon at a moment's notice." That is all. I will now release the grammar monkey.
Katy, Saturday, 7-1-06 7:40 PM
re: Less and Less Community
Wow, there really is a grammar monkey! Katy was threatening to begin discoursing on essoteric modes of grammar the other night, but I think she lost courage in the face of all the geeky math talk. (Something about the potential superiority of base-12 over base-10 for general calculations. Dave favored base-16.)

But, back to the topic at hand: I'd say everyone in this group has more than 2 close friends using the definition set forth by Lisa. And half of us are INTJs - with many of the rest sharing at least the "I." But I certainly would not hesitate to call upon you guys for help.
Anyway, we already knew we were abnormal in this regard. The question is how to spread the wealth. The article's suggestion that we need more flexible work schedules seems trite. Sure, it would be great if everyone worked exactly the same 8 to 5 schedule and had the freedom to call in "busy" for a few hours at the drop of a hat, but we all know that's wildly unrealistic in today's economy.
What it seems to come down to is choice and committment. Community is not something that you can just hand out to someone that needs it: that person has to take it. We can all think of people who've intersected our own circles who simply won't prioritize what (to an outsider) they seem to need most: good solid supportive (Christian!) friends.
At the same time, to those who have noticed their need for community and are willing to commit time to getting it, I think we're already doing a pretty good job of making it possible to obtain.
Questions to consider
1) What things make community so hard to obtain (aside from pure work schedules)? Or am I off on my dismissal of work schedules? Should we really be out there seeking very flexible, and very predictable schedules?
2) What things do we here do to promote community?
3) Do we do anything to discourage it? Among either the current members or those who may wish to join?
Annette, Monday, 7-3-06 10:15 AM
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