So today, I'm gonna intro this by taking some of y'all all the way back into the mainstream gospel music archives. How many of you remember the back-in-the-day collab between The Winans and Aaron Hall (shout out to Teddy Riley for producing it too) called "A Friend"? Y'all, if I had social media, I would most definitely say, "Don't @ me" about the fact that Marvin Winans is one of the best vocalists…ever. But that's so besides the point.
I'm referencing this song because, at the very beginning of it, The Winans bring up this verse in Scripture—"A man who has friends must himself be friendly, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother." (Proverbs 18:24—NKJV) That Scripture will preach because, in spite of what I'm going to share with you, there's no way to have, even one friend, if we're not a good friend to othersand a good friend to ourselves (not necessarily in that order either). Real talk, some people don't have any real friends because this is a point that they continue to overlook.
But for the rest of us who, it seems that with every passing birthday, we wonder why we either have or desire to have less friends, let's look into why we're not crazy to think so. According to experts on this very topic, there's some real truth behind why adults have so few friends—and also tend to have a particular "type" of friends.
How Many Friends Do Most Grown Folks Have, Anyway?
Is it just me or does it seem like back in high school, one of our greatest aspirations was to have a ton of friends? Now that I'm in my 40s, if I were to really sit and think about how many friends—based on my definition of the word—that I have, eh, it's probably somewhere between 10-12.
I've got a lot of cool and semi-close acquaintances in my life, but to call-them-in the-midnight-hour-always-have-my-back kind of friend? Yeah, they're hard to come by. Wisdom has taught me that it also requires a lot to be that kind of friend in return as well. Maybe that's why a lot of us had 30-plus friends back in the day. Our definition and expectations were way different than they are now. At least, that's my theory.
As far as actual data goes, according to a study that consisted of 2,000 Americans, the average American has somewhere around 16 friends. This number includes three life-long friends, five people they like a lot and don't mind spending one-on-one time with, and eight individuals who they like but don't really want to hang out alone with (umm, is that actually a friend then? Y'all tell me). The people surveyed also said that 50 percent of their friend circle came from folks who they met in high school; 31 percent are still friends with people they met in college. Something else that the study revealed is the average American hasn't made a new friend in the past five years. One of the reasons why is because there are two friendship traits that are pretty hard to come by—honesty and trust. I wholeheartedly agree on that last point.
So, take a moment and count up your friends. How many do you have? Then reflect on the last time you made a new friend. Do you fall into the survey's findings or not?
Don’t Have a Ton of Friends? Here’s Why That Just Might Be the Case.
Now, there's another study that brings in a twist to all of this. I say that because it claims that the majority of Americans (62 percent) have between 2-5 friends (that sounds more like it) and yet, even with the friends that we do have, most of us still feel lonely (the ones who feel this the most are young, single, male and typically a lower income). Some of this is because, these days, a lot of us work from home and since 42 percent of people make friends while at their place of employment, for entrepreneurs and telecommuters, that can be pretty difficult to do.
But out of all of the stuff that I read in this particular study, I think the fact that it pushed back on the whole "opposites attract" theory is what stood out to me the most. 62 percent of us have friends of the same faith. 74 percent of us have friends of the same ethnicity. 63 percent of us have friends who are on the same education level. 62 percent of us have friends who share our political views. 70 percent of us have friends with a similar social status and 69 percent of us have friends who are in the same life stage as us. It should also go on record that when it comes to evangelicals, 91 percent of their friends share their same faith, 86 percent share their same political views and 88 percent were their same ethnicity (I am tempted to preach a mini-sermon on that but…I digress). Oh, and when it comes to being friends with the opposite sex, 92 percent of Americans believe it's possible but apparently only 25 percent of individuals actually have one.
OK, so what all of this boils down to is most of us have under five friends who are very similar to us. If you're an introvert or ambivert like I am, that probably doesn't bother you in the least; if anything, it confirms why you are the way that you are. But if you are the kind of individual who wants to make more friends, interestingly enough:
I think this survey's findings offers up insights on how to make that happen. Get out more. Also, don't always gravitate to individuals who look and think the same way as you do (a couple of my closest friends couldn't be more different than me, in every way; they've caused me to grow, immensely, too). Oh, and if you're feeling lonely, tell one of the friends that you already do have; that's what they're there for.
And to those of us with a faithful few friends, let them know how much you appreciate them at some point this week. Life has taught me, sometimes the hard way, that if you've got even one true friend who is totally honest with you and you can trust with your life, you're better off than a lot of these folks out here who think that just because they know a lot of people, they've got a lot of friends. And won't that preach? Amen. Hallelujah, y'all.
Want more stories like this? Sign up for our newsletter here and check out the related reads below:
The Self-Care Of Ghosting Toxic Girlfriends
6 Signs A New "Friend" Is Nothing But An Opportunist
Allow These Things To Happen Before Calling Someone "Friend"
Should You Take An Ex-Friend Back?
Feature image by Shutterstock
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- How To Make Friends As An Adult - xoNecole: Women's Interest, Love, Wellness, Beauty ›
- U.S. Adults Have Few Friends—and They're Mostly Alike - Barna ... ›
- Loneliness isn't inevitable – a guide to making new friends as an adult ›
- How Friendships Change Over Time - The Atlantic ›
- How to make friends as an adult - Vox ›
- Getting Serious About Adult Friendships | Psychology Today ›
- Learn How to Make Friends As An Adult Using These 5 Steps ›
- Adult Friendships Are Hard, But Are We Bad Friends? ›
- Friendships: Enrich your life and improve your health - Mayo Clinic ›
After being a regular contributor for about four years and being (eh hem) MIA in 2022, Shellie is back penning for the platform (did you miss her? LOL).
In some ways, nothing has changed and in others, everything has. For now, she'll just say that she's working on the 20th anniversary edition of her first book, she's in school to take life coaching to another level and she's putting together a platform that supports and encourages Black men because she loves them from head to toe.
Other than that, she still works with couples, she's still a doula, she's still not on social media and her email contact (email@example.com) still hasn't changed (neither has her request to contact her ONLY for personal reasons; pitch to the platform if you have story ideas).
Life is a funny thing but if you stay calm, moments can come full circle and this is one of them. No doubt about it.
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Get To Know 'Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story' Star India Amarteifio
Actress India Amarteifio has enchanted audiences with her captivating performance of a young Queen Charlotte in Netflix's latest hit Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story.
The limited series, a prequel to Bridgerton, follows the young queen as her marriage to King George of England causes a societal shift. Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story debuted on Netflix earlier this month to rave reviews from fans and critics alike.
The show had left many in awe of the stars' portrayal of each character and its riveting storylines, so much so that it excelled in the streaming platform's top ten charts landing at number one when it premiered.
Since then, Amarteifio and her castmates have been trending on social media for various reasons. The list includes many sharing their remarks regarding the love story between Queen Charlotte and King George and social media users wanting to know more about the actors and actresses.
Although few details have been released about Amarteifio and her life, many would be surprised to know some uncovered facts about the star, unveiled recently during her promotional tour of Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story.
India Was a Trained Dancer
Prior to focusing on acting full-time, Amarteifio was a trained dancer.
Marie Claire magazine reports Amarteifio --who grew up in England-- attended the Richmond Academy of Dance when she was 11. The following year, Amarteifio received a scholarship for Sylvia Young Theatre School. But the star's dancing journey would ultimately be cut short when she was 12 after sustaining a hamstring tear.
Amarteifio told L'Officiel what made her fully transition into acting, in addition to her injury, was that she was "constantly" falling ill. Amarteifio shared that because she loved "the acting element through dance," becoming an actress was a "natural" switch.
"I always wanted to dance. I went to performing arts school when I was 11 to 16. Then I really badly injured myself, and it made me question the industry and the lifestyle of something so reliant on my body," she said. "I constantly was getting injured and ill, and it made me look at the reality of the life of a dancer. I always loved the acting element through dance, so I made the natural transition that way. But I always wanted to perform—acting is just more of a newish venture."
India Started Acting Really Young
Despite Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story being Amarteifio's breakout role, the star has been a part of the entertainment industry since she was a baby.
In an April interview with Vogue magazine, Amarteifio revealed that she landed her first acting opportunity alongside her mother in a commercial for Vodafone when she was eight months old. A few years later, Amarteifio would land theater jobs, including The Lion King, where she played the role of young Nala, Matilda, and Charlie and The Chocolate Factory.
"I was in a Vodafone advert with my mum when I was eight months old. I only found out about it the other day – she told me they did an open call and she just rocked up with me," she said." Growing up, I loved theatre and dance, and when I was nine, I auditioned for The Lion King in the West End. I did that for about a year, then moved on to Matilda, then Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Around that time, I got a scholarship to Sylvia Young Theatre School."
After Amarteifio's injury at 12 and fully deciding to pursue acting as a career choice, she would go on to get minor roles in Doctor Who, The Tunnel, and Sex Education.
"We had a careers evening when I was 14, and I started thinking, 'If I keep doing this, I'll have a short career.' So, I started focusing on acting and ended up getting small roles in Doctor Who, The Tunnel and Sex Education," she said.
India On Being Mixed Race And How She Related To Her Character
As the conversation shifted to how Amarteifio could relate to her Queen Charlotte character, the actress shared that because of her mixed background, she felt she could identify with the idea of not knowing where to "fit in."
Amarteifio's mother is white, while her father, who is Black. Further in the interview, Amarteifio recalled what it felt like being the "only person of color" to enter a room and compared those instances to Queen Charlotte's experiences early on in Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story.
"I'm mixed race. I've got a white mum and my dad is Black – born in London, but with Ghanaian ancestry – so I can relate to her in terms of not really knowing where you fit in. I know what it's like to walk into a room and have everyone look at you because you're the only person of color. There are so many scenes, especially early on in the series where Charlotte does exactly that," she stated. "In those moments, you feel alone and awkward, and it can be uncomfortable to talk about it, but by writing those scenes, Shonda's starting that conversation and showing people that they aren't alone."
India Prepared For Queen Charlotte: A Briderton Story By Watching The Crown
Earlier this month, Amarteifio opened up about how she prepped for her starring role in Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story.
In an interview with Bustle, the actress disclosed that she binged-watch Netflix's The Crown to get another perspective on being a royal. Amarteifio also shared that her co-star Corey Mylchreest suggested it after they were informed that they would be doing a coronation scene.
"Corey [Mylchreest] actually recommended [that I] watch The Crown because we were doing the coronation scene [in Queen Charlotte]. In Season 1 [of The Crown], the Queen is going through a coronation, and it was interesting to see how that was done—because it's a ritual, it's a very similar experience, and to see the behind-the-scenes elements that they showed in The Crown was actually helpful," she explained.
Amarteifio also mentioned that portraying Queen Charlotte and watching The Crown helped her understand the royal family more as people.
"I definitely understand the royal family more, in the sense of knowing who people are in relation to other people—that's because when I was filming, I binge-watched The Crown. So I feel like I know them all. I know their secrets," she said. "But [Queen Charlotte] didn't give me any further insight into them because we don't delve into that. We're taking from history, but we're retelling it."
India On How The Queen Charlotte Role Impacted Her
In the same interview, Amarteifio provided details about how portraying the role of Queen Charlotte positively impacted her life.
Amarteifio stated that before taking the role of Queen Charlotte, she was often nervous to ask questions out of fear that she would "rock the boat." Still, after playing the character, the star started opening up more because she realized that even if she didn't receive any answers, it made situations much easier to handle.
"I see her as a very different entity. [But] not being embarrassed or afraid of asking questions is probably one of the things that I took away, because she asks questions and gets answers. Sometimes she doesn't get answers, but at least she tried. Sometimes I feel like I'm a bit nervous to ask questions or rock the boat — but actually, it just makes things easier," she stated.
Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story is now streaming on Netflix.
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Feature image by Dominik Bindl/Getty Images