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Friendship Application 4.0

According to the New York Times, American men appear to be stuck in a “friendship recession” — a trend that predates the pandemic but that seems to have accelerated over the past several years as loneliness levels have crept up worldwide.

In a 2021 survey of more than 2,000 adults in the United States, less than half of the men said they were truly satisfied with how many friends they had, while 15 percent said they had no close friends at all — a fivefold increase since 1990.

That same survey found that men were less likely than women to rely on their friends for emotional support or to share their personal feelings with them.

This makes the updating of my Friendship Application perhaps a little foolish. Originally published in 2010, then updated in 2012 and 2015, the Friendship Application was originally designed to identify those people in my life who possessed the best friendship potential.

Of course, I believe that you can’t have enough good friends. Elysha has given me many remarkable gifts over the year, but perhaps the best gifts of all have been introducing me to a handful of friends who mean the world to me today.

I’ll take people over stuff any day.

But I also believe you can definitely have too many bad friends, defined as people who are persistently negative, endlessly draining, filled with drama, and time-suckingly boring.

We don’t have enough time in the day for people who are incapable of making us happy.

Thus the Friendship Application was born.

It’s more tongue-in-cheek these days. I’m happy to fill my life with anyone who can bring me a little joy.

But it also reflects my honest-to-goodness preferences in terms of the kind of person to whom I am drawn.

In order to possess a high degree of friendship potential, you must achieve a score of 160 out of 255 points.

This does not mean that if you score less than 160 points, we can’t be friends. One of my closest friends did not score 160 points. I think of it as more of a predictor of how likely we would become friends if we had just met for the first time.