Well-Being//

This Is The Age When We Start To Spend More Time Alone

It's earlier than you may have thought.

Image courtesy of Unsplash.

A lot changes as we get older, but new research outlined in this piece on Quartz suggests that one thing stays the same: the person we spend the most time with as we age is ourselves. In fact, starting at the age of 40, the amount of time we spend alone continues to increase until our deaths.

Data scientist Henrik Lindberg analyzed data from the American Time Use Survey collected between 2003 to 2015 to get a sense of who we spend our time with throughout our lives.

The fact that our time spent alone starts increasing so early in life is surprising, but many of Lindberg’s other findings are consistent with life transitions like having children or retiring. For example, the data showed that the number of friends we have generally peaks at the age of 25 but decreases dramatically during our mid-30s. The data also showed a spike in the amount of time we spend with children in our mid-30s, which is when many people start families. Lastly, between the ages of 45 and 55, the number of friends we have begins to plateau.

While the idea of spending more time alone may seem disheartening, Quartz writers Corinne Purtill and Dan Kopf noted that a decrease in the number of social interactions we have doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re lonely. Citing research conducted by Stanford University psychologist Linda Carstensen, Purtill and Kopf state that our ability to emotionally regulate improves as we get older, meaning that people are more satisfied with the quality of their relationships, regardless of how many or few they are in number.

Read more about relationship patterns and aging in Quartz.

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres. We publish pieces written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Learn more or join us as a community member!
Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thrive Global
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.