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
- My Female Friendships Were The Most Heartbreaking & Loving ... ›
- 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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.
How Content Creators Hey Fran Hey And Shameless Maya Embraced The Pivot
This article is in partnership with Meta Elevate.
If you’ve been on the internet at all within the past decade, chances are the names Hey Fran Hey and Shameless Maya (aka Maya Washington) have come across your screen. These content creators have touched every platform on the web, spreading joy to help women everywhere live their best lives. From Fran’s healing natural remedies to Maya’s words of wisdom, both of these content creators have built a loyal following by sharing honest, useful, and vulnerable content. But in search of a life that lends to more creativity, freedom, and space, these digital mavens have moved from their bustling big cities (New York City and Los Angeles respectively) to more remote locations, taking their popular digital brands with them.
Content Creators Hey Fran Hey and Maya Washington Talk "Embracing The Pivot"www.youtube.com
In partnership with Meta Elevate — an online learning platform that provides Black, Hispanic, and Latinx-owned businesses access to 1:1 mentoring, digital skills training, and community — xoNecole teamed up with Franscheska Medina and Maya Washington on IG live recently for a candid conversation about how they’ve embraced the pivot by changing their surroundings to ultimately bring out the best in themselves and their work. Fran, a New York City native, moved from the Big Apple to Portland, Oregon a year ago. Feeling overstimulated by the hustle and bustle of city life, Fran headed to the Pacific Northwest in search of a more easeful life.
Her cross-country move is the backdrop for her new campaign with Meta Elevate— a perfectly-timed commercial that shows how you can level up from wherever you land with the support of free resources like Meta Elevate. Similarly, Maya packed up her life in Los Angeles and moved to Sweden, where she now resides with her husband and adorable daughter. Maya’s life is much more rural and farm-like than it had been in California, but she is thriving in this peaceful new setting while finding her groove as a new mom.
While Maya is steadily building and growing her digital brand as a self-proclaimed “mom coming out of early retirement,” Fran is redefining her own professional grind. “It’s been a year since I moved from New York City to Portland, Oregon,” says Fran. “I think the season I’m in is figuring out how to stay successful while also slowing down.” A slower-paced life has unlocked so many creative possibilities and opportunities for these ladies, and our conversation with them is a well-needed reminder that your success is not tied to your location…especially with the internet at your fingertips. Tapping into a community like Meta Elevate can help Black, Hispanic, and Latinx entrepreneurs and content creators stay connected to like minds and educated on new digital skills and tools that can help scale their businesses.
During a beautiful moment in the conversation, Fran gives Maya her flowers for being an innovator in the digital space. Back when “influencing” was in its infancy and creators were just trying to find their way, Fran says Maya was way ahead of her time. “I give Maya credit for being one of the pioneers in the digital space,” Fran said. “Maya is a one-person machine, and I always tell her she really changed the game on what ads, campaigns, and videos, in general, should look like.”
When asked what advice she’d give content creators, Maya says the key is having faith even when you don’t see the results just yet. “It’s so easy to look at what is, despite you pouring your heart into this thing that may not be giving you the returns that you thought,” she says. “Still operate from a place of love and authenticity. Have faith and do the work. A lot of people are positive thinkers, but that’s the thinking part. You also have to put your faith into work and do the work.”
Fran ultimately encourages content creators and budding entrepreneurs to take full advantage of Meta Elevate’s vast offerings to educate themselves on how to build and grow their businesses online. “It took me ten years to get to the point where I’m making ads at this level,” she says. “I didn’t have those resources in 2010. I love the partnership with Meta Elevate because they’re providing these resources for free. I just think of the people that wouldn’t be able to afford that education and information otherwise. So to amplify a company like this just feels right.”
Watch the full conversation with the link above, and join the Meta Elevate community to connect with fellow businesses and creatives that are #OnTheRiseTogether.
Featured image courtesy of Shameless Maya and Hey Fran Hey
Exclusive: 'Praise This' Producer Will Packer And Director Tina Gordon Pulls For Non-Traditional Audiences With Film
Praise This has a uber-talented cast helmed by the multi-hyphenate Chloe Bailey. But before the cast, filming, and other things came to play, it started out as a vision from executive producer Will Packer and director Tina Gordon. In our exclusive interview with the visionaries, Will shares that when he received the screenplay, he knew that Tina would be the perfect person to make the script come to life.
"She and I were so aligned in terms of the mission of this movie. We said that we wanted to make a movie that if you were [a] traditional, staunch, church type of person who believes that church should fit into a box, that we were gonna blow that out. That this wasn't the movie for you," Will says. "We wanted to make a movie that was for that non-traditional audience that is open to a church movie. You get that audience in by mashing up gospel with Drake, and with Beyoncé, with Cardi [B]. That's how you do that, and so you come in for the music, and you stay for a powerful story; Tina understood that."
He continues, "And so when I thought about who could helm this, the project was originally pitched to me by an amazing young executive named Antoine Jenkins, and I knew I wanted to do this praise movie in this world, Tina was the right one. I was really hoping she would say yes, and when she did, we were off to the races."
Watch Will's full interview below:
Executive Producer Will Packer Shares How Film Appeals To All Walks of Life
Tina, who directed films like Little, expresses her excitement about working on the Peacock film.
"Will sent me the script, and I had been like circling doing a musical. I hadn't really done something music-driven since Drumline, and so I was excited about the idea of showing gospel choirs, praise teams, specifically 'cause I thought that it would just be a really, just new facet of our culture to show," Tina explains. "And once I kinda nailed down the personalities of the praise teams and how they would be just a little funny, a little bit of a wink and a nod to church culture, I kinda got it, and I was ready to go."
Tina hopes audiences are surprised and inspired by Praise This and wants them to walk away feeling uplifted.
Watch Tina's full interview below:
Praise This is available on Peacock.
Director Tina Gordon Wants Audiences To Be Surprised By Her New Film “Praise This”
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Feature image by Terence Rushin/Getty Images