While social media sites may have increased Americans’ overall number of acquaintances, new research slated for publication in a journal called ‘Social Networks’ shows the number of people we claim as close friends is now lower than it was 25 years ago.

Matthew Brashears from the University of Cornwell surveyed 2,000 adults in the US and asked them to list the names of people with whom they had discussed “important matters” in the last six months.

He found that on average, participants had about two true confidantes — one fewer than we had a quarter-century ago.

And despite the perception that women love to talk about their feelings, the four percent of respondents who didn’t list any names at all were mostly female and highly educated.

But Brashears is quick to point out his findings don’t mean we’re becoming more socially isolated, saying, “Rather than our networks getting smaller overall, what I think may be happening is we’re simply classifying a smaller proportion of our networks as suitable for important discussions.”

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