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Americans Long for More Quality Time with Family and Friends

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Americans Crave Time with Loved Ones Beyond Holidays

Thanksgiving is a cherished occasion for Americans to gather with friends and family, but it's becoming one of the few opportunities for quality time together. The demanding nature of our economic system leaves little room for leisure and connection with loved ones.

Study Reveals Americans Prioritize Family Above All

A recent study from the Pew Research Center highlights the deep desire Americans have for spending time with family. Over 90% of respondents consider it "very important" or "one of the most important things." This sentiment transcends political affiliations, with Democrats and Republicans equally valuing family time.

Americans Embrace Inclusive Definitions of Family

Americans have broadened their definition of family to include pets. In fact, nearly all pet owners consider their furry companions as part of the family. This inclusive perspective reflects the importance Americans place on their loved ones.

Friendship Holds Significant Value for Americans

Close friendships are highly valued by Americans, with approximately 60% of adults considering them "very or extremely" important to a fulfilling life. This surpasses the importance placed on wealth, marriage, or having children.

An Overworked Nation Lacks Time for Loved Ones

Despite the desire for family and friend time, Americans are overworked compared to peer countries. According to the International Labour Organisation, Americans work hundreds of hours more per year than counterparts in Germany, Australia, the UK, Sweden, Belgium, and France. The lack of paid family leave and vacation days exacerbates the issue, with one in four US workers having zero paid vacation days.

The Pandemic Exacerbates the Struggle for Connection

The COVID-19 pandemic has further strained relationships and social connections. The time spent with friends has significantly decreased, and the isolation caused by lockdowns has taken a toll on mental health. Additionally, family dinner time has become a rarity, particularly among poorer and working-class Americans.

Smartphones and Long Hours Impact Relationships

The rise of smartphones has been linked to a decline in socializing and quality time spent with loved ones. As smartphone usage increased, the amount of time Americans spent with friends decreased. Teenagers, in particular, are experiencing the negative effects of spending excessive hours alone.

Thanksgiving Alone is Not Enough

While Thanksgiving is a cherished holiday, it is not sufficient to fulfill Americans' longing for more time with their loved ones. It is time to address the exploitative nature of our economic system and prioritize the happiness, love, and connections we all desire.

Liza Featherstone, a columnist for Jacobin and a freelance journalist, emphasizes the need for change in her book, Selling Women Short: The Landmark Battle for Workers' Rights at Wal-Mart.