Snap Inc. released The Friendship Report 2020 Wednesday, a compilation of findings from studies the company commissioned from Alter Agents on the pandemic’s impact on wellbeing and friendships.
Snap said in the introduction to this year’s report, “Our initial global Friendship Report was released in 2019 to examine the state and nature of friendship around the world. The report was broad in scope, diving into attitudes about friendship and what helps make them healthy and long-lasting. An important finding in last year’s report was that our closest friends are key to our happiness, often from early life—and while most of us do have close friends, some of us don’t.”
The company continued, “For the second edition of the Friendship Report, we wanted to understand why. Did some of us not make those close friends in the first place, or did we lose them along the way? In a year where Covid-19 has fundamentally changed how we interact with our friends, understanding what causes friendships to thrive or falter and the impact of this pandemic is more important than ever.”
Not surprisingly, this year’s report found that the coronavirus is taking a heavy toll on Americans.
Covid-19 was the leading cause of stress for U.S. Snapchatters, at 85%, followed by finances (81%) and work/career pressures (80%), while 60% of respondents mentioned politics and the upcoming presidential election, as well.
School was a leading source of stress for Generation Z Snapchatters, at 75% of those 13 through 24 and 91% of those 13 through 17. Major concerns included lack of socialization with their peers and falling behind on their education.
A global study of 30,000 people across 16 countries found that 67% of respondents have felt lonely since the start of the pandemic, up from 59% pre-Covid-19, while 49% said being unable to see their friends has made them feel lonelier.
Nearly one-third (31%) believe social distancing has led to relationships with friends starting to fade, and just 30% of respondents feel like their friends are reaching out to them as much as they would like.
Online channels have become more important for sustained communication, as 66% of respondents said they are using them to stay in touch more than they had before social distancing.
A total of 39% of respondents said their friendships are more important to them during the pandemic, while 61% are concerned about the health or safety of their friends.
While 79% of respondents admitting to losing touch with a close friend, 66% said they would like to reconnect with those friends. In the U.S., those numbers are 88% and 71%, respectively.
As for how to reconnect, 67% of respondents would prefer to do so digitally, but only 54% know how to do this.
Teacher and friendship expert Dana Kerford, founder of Australian organization URStrong, which empowers kids with friendship skills, said in the report, “How we say things is more important than what we say. Actions really do speak louder than words when it comes to friendship. That’s where visual cues come in. Memories and images of your friendship are particularly powerful. When it comes to reconnecting, the No. 1 thing people enjoy sharing are photos of them and their friend together (42%). Also, being creative with stickers, emojis or Bitmojis can express tone or feeling in ways that contextualize and clarify our messages. Honing these skills can take a little work, but with some lessons and practice, friendships can be repaired and even strengthened through this process.”