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Vox’s August Highlight Issue Explores the State of Modern American Friendship

Inside this issue: The state of American friendship, its radical power, advice for small talk and making your social battery work for you, even if you’re an introvert, and more.

Hanna Barczyk for Vox

For the August issue, the Highlight by Vox teamed up with Even Better, the network’s recently launched service journalism section focused on giving readers deeply sourced information and actionable advice. Collaboratively, they examine the state of American friendship through interviews, timely snapshots, service pieces, and more. Friendship, an under-recognized bedrock of American life, has quietly been on the wane over the past 30 years. Last year, the American Perspectives Survey reported that 12 percent of Americans now say they have no close friendships, compared with three percent in 1990. The reasons for this are myriad. Americans are more mobile, often moving for careers and working more hours. Parenting has changed dramatically, requiring more of adults’ time and resources. Covid further fractured relationships: Nearly 50 percent of Americans reported losing touch with friends during the enduring pandemic.

Vox explores how we think about ourselves as friends and what we need from others amid the tremendous shifts in our access to social media, migration patterns, and other cultural changes.

Contributors to the issue include Marin Cogan, Alex Abad-Santos, and Lauren Katz on why friendship is different than any other relationship we have; Allie Volpe on things to consider when ending a friendship; Alissa Wilkinson on the radical political power of friendship; Rebecca Jennings on how to make small talk when you hate small talk; Eliza Brooke with an introvert’s guide to actually enjoying a party; and Muizz Akhtar on how urban planning was the undoing of American friendship.

The Highlight, in partnership with Apple News, is a dedicated home for the signature features, essays, and explainers that help our audience go beyond the headlines of the day to tackle the big ideas and issues that are changing our present and influencing our future.