Missing from Discussions of Balancing Work Life with Life Outside of Work: The Importance of Friends

What matters to single people in the time they spend away from work? In a previous post, I described a study in which 36 managers and professionals who live alone were interviewed at length about balancing their work life with life outside of work. One of the most important themes to emerge from those interviews was a matter that has been mostly missing from previous discussions: the significance of friendship.

How we live now

Singles Away from Work: Messed-Up Assumptions about their Time and What They Do with It

Most discussions of “work-life balance” are narrowly focused on the concerns of a minority of workers – those who are married with children. We hear a lot about how parents need the flexibility to leave work to attend their kids’ games or plays or take them to the dentist. We hear about how couples need to coordinate their vacation schedules. We also hear all about how married workers need time to deal with all their chores at home.

How we live now

Worried about Dying Alone? Read This Story

“You’ll die alone.” It is meant to be the ultimate scare story, powerful enough to frighten even those single people who dare to declare that they love their single lives. Back in the days of Bridget Jones’s Diary, Bridget put a witty spin on the the matter by announcing her fear that she would die alone “and be found three weeks later half-eaten by Alsatians.”

Love & Affection

Move Over, Romance: Friendship Is Not Second Rate Anymore

Marriage and romance just don’t have the place in our lives that they once did. A Pew Research Report estimates that by the time today’s young adults reach the age of 50, about 1 in 4 of them will have been single all their lives. The move away from romantic preoccupation starts young. Another study, that started in 1976 and lasted for 40 years, showed that the percentage of high schoolers (ninth through twelfth grades) who had ever been on a date was lowest for the most recent years.


Leaving a Legacy: Look at What Single People Are Doing

In their day-to-day lives, single people are far more generous and caring than they are given credit for – even when they talk about themselves. I discussed the double standard in calling people selfish in a previous post. Here, I want to tell you about the kinds of giving single people do that outlives them. Usually, when charitable organizations, universities, and nonprofit organizations think about people who will leave a legacy with their gifts, they think about married couples and parents. But single people leave legacies, too.

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