Gen Z speak out about being lonely and how hard it is to make friends

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Gen Zers have exposed that having friends is no longer a rite of passage.

Friendship in 2023 has become online currency, with people constantly posting about their big friendship groups online.

We’ve all seen the group parties, overflowing brunches and jam-packed bridal parties. It might look like everyone has a gaggle of mates to accompany them everywhere, but the reality is very different.

In many ways, young people are more connected than previous generations, but they have also never felt more alone, with recent research by dating app Bumble revealing the numbers are staggering.

Research showed 37 per cent of Gen Z women in Australia feel lonely every week and 75 per cent say they actively want to make new friends.

There’s also a sad trend of young women taking to Facebook to share their lack of friends – while refusing to reveal their identity.

A woman recently posted anonymously in an Aussie Facebook group, which boasts over 70,000 members, that she felt she was in a “horrible” stage of life because of her lack of mates.

“I’m going through a pretty horrible stage in my life with friends. I’m about to turn 30 in December, and I literally have nothing planned or any friends to do anything with,” she wrote.

She added that she wasn’t “exaggerating” about her friends situation and instead wanted suggestions on how to best celebrate her birthday solo.

“I’m always the nobody in the group and always get forgotten. Now I’m in no group, which breaks my heart,” she revealed.

Similarly, another woman posted anonymously in another women’s group to share that her wedding had already been ruined because of her lack of mates.

“I don’t have any sisters or friends really. I have no one to be bridesmaids, and it sucks, and I feel like I’m the biggest loser,” she shared.

The woman added that she knew this was meant to be the “happiest time” of her life, but she just felt “embarrassed” that she had no friends.

Psychologist Carly Dober explained that young women feeling like they don’t have enough friends is more “common” than people realise.

“It is that paradox where we are more connected than ever thanks to technology, but this is not the only thing that helps to alleviate feelings of loneliness,” she explained.

Dober said the issue often breeds upon itself because people can also “internalise” feelings of loneliness as a “deficit” in their own capacities to make and maintain friendships.

“Unfortunately, this makes loneliness worse as people might self-isolate, or feel like they’re not ‘interesting enough’ to participate in things with friends, or to put themselves in new situations,” she said.

Gen Zers are doing their best to destigmatise being lonely by talking about it.

Young women online are sharing how they feel friendless or revealing they don’t have enough quality friends, which helps highlight the situation’s reality and also provide comfort for people in the same situation.

Creator Kelsey Soles amassed millions of likes on TikTok by speaking about the taboo issue of loneliness.

“When you’re friends with everyone but not super close with anyone, you still feel alone,” she wrote.

The post was inundated with people sharing how they felt similar.

“This is literally me,” someone commented.

“I just want a best friend,” another revealed.

“This hits too close to home,” someone else shared.

TikTok is filled with young women sharing how they struggle with not feeling like they have enough friends, the right kind of friendships or just no friends.

Creator Lauren Nicole went viral and amassed over nine million views for sharing that she feels nothing “prepares” you for loneliness in your twenties.

“No one prepares you for the loneliness you feel in your twenties,” she said.

Lauren explained that she feels like you “lose” lots of friends when you are young because people pair up with partners and enter into different “phases.”

“I feel like the odd one out and like I don’t have anyone,” she said.

The comment section was filled with women sharing they felt the same.

“I never imagined my 20s to be like this – but it’s happening,” someone complained.

“I thought I was the only one,” another shared.

“Nobody ever admits what is but this is such an honest TikTok and the most honest one I ever seen,” another shared.

Others described the feeling of loneliness as “painful”, while others grimly claimed the feeling “gets worse” as you get older.

It really is hard for young women to make friends in Australia.

Canadian expat Ioana Dragnef, now based on Queensland’s Gold Coast and formerly in Melbourne, accused Aussies of being hard to make friends with.

She played out a scenario in a TikTok that depicted how friendships would typically be formed and maintained in Canada to demonstrate how different things were in Australia.

She said in Australia friendships were particularly tough to break into.

Enacting a scenario based on her experience since arriving seven years ago, she accused Aussies of blowing people off and only being vulnerable when they were drunk.

“I can’t hang out this weekend, I’ve overcomitted myself to like six different events, 30 different friendship groups, and the only way I’m going to be vulnerable with you is if I’m completely plastered,” she said while in character as an Australian.

Being lonely isn’t a niche issue – it is impacting an entire generation.

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