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Opinion Americans are choosing to be alone. Here’s why we should reverse that.

The covid-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on our social lives. Time spent with friends went down, time spent alone went up. Americans spent 38 percent less time with friends and family over the Thanksgiving weekend than a decade prior. Social media, political polarization and new technologies played a role in the drop. Average American spent 15 hours a week with friends a decade ago, down from 12 in 2019, to 10 in 2021.

Americans did not transfer lost time to spouses, partners or children; instead, they chose to be alone. No single group drives this trend: Men, women, non-White, rich and poor, urban and rural, married and unmarried, parents and non-parents all saw declines.