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Gen Z Is So Lonely Spending Money On Gym And Club Memberships To Make Friends
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The Loneliness Epidemic
A recent survey by the Harvard Graduate School of Education revealed that more than one-third of Americans between the ages of 18 and 25 frequently feel isolated. The pandemic led to a decrease in the time young adults spent in communal spaces such as classrooms and offices, which are usually places where they form in-person bonds. The U.S. Surgeon General, Vivek Murthy, labeled this situation as an "epidemic of loneliness."
Investing in Social Connections
Business Insider reports that Gen Z individuals are investing significant amounts in memberships and events to meet new individuals and maintain their relationships. For instance, Lynette Ban, who moved from New York to Austin during the pandemic to save money while working remotely, is among those who have done so. She has allocated a minimum of $500 for her social club membership and gym program. Additionally, she spends several hundred dollars on dining out with friends and acquaintances. Ban emphasized the importance of joining clubs and organizations post-pandemic to meet new people and expand her network.
The Cost of Making Friends
Another example is William Cabell, 24, who pays $70 monthly for a rock-climbing gym membership and an extra $161 at a jujitsu gym, all in the pursuit of making new friends. Cabell believes that paying for activities ensures commitment from both himself and others. He started investing more in social activities because he found it challenging to make friends at his workplace. He feels that paid activities facilitate friend-making as they are more structured, placing individuals in new social scenarios.
A Rising Trend in Social Memberships
However, Ban and Cabell aren't the only ones. The rise in memberships for these social clubs and gyms is noticeable. Kelly Lohr, Orangetheory's chief marketing officer, attributes this trend to a heightened focus on health and wellness and the intense need for real-life connections. Rebecca Schweiger, founder of The Art Studio NY, noted that Gen Z members are enrolling in classes to fulfill their need for community and connection. She observed that many young adults join alone, seeking personal growth and companionship.