Women in the Regions Turn to Social Media to Find Friendships and Community (Australia)
Oh this isn’t just an issue in Australia.
Middle aged (especially single women) find it difficult to make platonic friendships with other adults in the United States.
I’ve seen a lot of articles in the last few years that more and more Americans are either deciding not to marry at all, or are postponing it until they’re older.
Some married adults have found marriage unfulfilling and lonely – so they’d like to make more platonic friends to get their emotional needs met.
(Link): Women in the Regions Turn to Social Media to Find Friendships and Community
ABC Goldfields / Elsa Silberstein
April Garforth, like her other female friends in their 40s, is sick of going on online dates with underwhelming men.
She’s created a small Facebook group — open to friends-of-friends — to find people in her region of outback Western Australia to accompany her on spontaneous activities.
“With dating apps like Tinder, and things like that, you can meet a significant other. But with friends, it’s harder to reach out and make those connections,” April says.
“So I was talking to a friend of mine and I was saying, ‘You know, there really needs to be a Tinder for friends’.
“I’m really just looking for people to go on adventures with.”
The group’s Facebook description paints a picture of the type of activities April and other like-minded locals might enjoy together:
“Check it out it’s like Tinder for friends except we already know each other,” it reads.
“Looking for someone to grab a drink [with], go to the bush doof or take a random drive to Lake Douglas just to check if there’s water in it? Well we are ya peeps!”
…‘It’s really hard to make friends’
April lives in Kalgoorlie in the Goldfields of WA. It’s a transient mining city of 30,000 people, 600 kilometres from Perth.
She says she needs to be proactive to meet new people at her stage of life.
“I’m 42 and it’s really hard to make friends at this age,” April says.
“It’s really easy when you’re young and you’ve got lots of time.”
April says finding a sense of community wouldn’t be possible without the Facebook group.
….Less friends than 30 years ago
Peter Kenyon is a “community enthusiast” and the director of a regional community consultancy group. He says it’s great to see people taking initiative and using social media to lead to face-to-face interactions and make stronger community connections.
“For a long time, we’ve seen that people have slowly been disconnecting from each other,” he says.
“People now have about four less close friends they had in the mid-80s.”
Mr Kenyon says social connectedness is the most important thing for a community, however societal changes have been impacting how people can make these connections.
…”More people are living on their own, choosing not to have a family,” he says.
“The amount of times people change their location has accelerated and membership to organisations have gone down drastically.”
Mr Kenyon says transient populations, like with Kalgoorlie’s fly-in fly-out workforce, create environments where people are entering into a community without knowing anyone, which can be daunting.
(Link): Why Making Friends in Midlife Is So Hard By Katharine Smyth
(Link): There Are Ways to Deal With the Sting of Unrequited Friendship by K. Sackville
(Link): The Rise of Delayed Marriage and Female Friendship – article from The Atlantic
(Link): What is a Platonic Life Partnership? These Couples are Breaking Societal Relationship Norms
(Link): Patriarchy tends to sexualize all male / female relationships (article via Junia Project blog)
(Link): The Rise of the Lone She-Wolf by Charlotte Alter (mentions women who are single, childless, who don’t fit society’s expectations for women)
(Link): Brotherly Love: Christians and Male-Female Friendships
(Link): Platonic Marriages Are A Thing (And They Are Not New) by K. Zapata
(Link): A Valentine’s Ode to Friendship by P. Jane
(Link): Women Who Dump Women Friends As Soon As They Get A Spouse or Boyfriend (Letter to Advice Columnist)
(Link): Why is it So Hard For Women to Make New Friends? by G. Kovanis
(Link): Dear Abby: Teen Gets a Boyfriend, Snubs Her Old Pal
(Link): Deep Friendships and Other Asexual Connections Can Feel Romantic, Even Without The Sex. Here’s Why. by Ritch C Savin-Williams Ph.D.
(Link): Topics: Friendship is Possible / Sexualization By Culture Of All Relationships
(Link): Dudes, Stop Putting Women in the Girl-friend-zone
(Link): Hollywood Movies: Affirming that Friendship or Platonic Love is Just As Good As Marriage
(Link): Reclaiming Stolen Friendships – a blog post criticizing the Sexist, Anti – Singles Christian Billy Graham Rule