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Booze giant Pernod Ricard releases research on loneliness

Wine and spirits company Pernod Ricard has released the results of a research study that revealed human connection is increasingly becoming a lost art form as technology plays a greater role in our daily lives.

The survey, conducted by OpinionWay, assessed global attitudes towards conviviality in 11 countries on five continents with nearly 11,500 respondents.

The study revealed that 56 per cent of Australians say they meet up less with friends because of social media. Over 70 per cent of respondents say they stay home to stream a film or TV show instead of connecting with family and friends in person. At the same time, nine out of 10 Australians yearn for more real-life connections.

The survey also suggests the digital world may be impacting the quality of friendships, citing that almost half of Australia (47 per cent) feel their relationships with their friends are becoming more superficial as a result of social media. Consequently, only 33 per cent of Australians have met half of their Facebook friends or less in real life. To form meaningful relationships in person, it was found that 89 per cent of respondents want to be less addicted to social media to have more time to meet up with others in person.

Further results found that two-thirds of Australians think that the world is less convivial than it was five years ago – a rate 5 per cent higher than the global average of 61 per cent. Globally, the French are most likely to say the world has become less convivial (82 per cent), followed by Germans (73 per cent), while Mexicans appear to be the most optimistic on the topic with 92 per cent saying their country is convivial.

Neer Korn, sociologist and expert on Australian culture, believes that there are many elements that contribute to the lack of conviviality. Those include, but are not limited to, technology and social media adoption, the pace of change in society, the severe decline of trust in society and our transient lifestyles.

“Australians feel their country, and their own lives, are less convivial than previously. Much of this is due to the constant negativity that pervades public and political debate, exasperating their sense of worry and uncertainty,” he said.

“Social media has played a major role in disconnecting people under the guise of allowing them to be more connected. While we may be in touch with others more readily, they have led to declined personal connections. Australians seek these connections and a sense of the glass half-full in their own lives. Rather than living frantically, they wish to slow down and smell the roses.”

Spokesman for Pernod Ricard Australia, Bryan Fry, said it was concerning that Australians are socialising less than in previous years but was encouraged by the move to fix this trend.

“There is a real desire for connection and sharing in today’s world as evident in the survey, which revealed that 86 per cent of Australians believe conviviality contributes positively to their wellbeing. This mindset resonates strongly at Pernod Ricard, where we actively encourage our teams to make a new friend every day.”

Entertaining appears to be the antidote with the majority of Australians, stating that sharing a meal at home with their friends was their top activity for social gathering. Globally, 79 per cent associate convivial moments with having a drink or a meal with relatives.

“There is a universal need for us to look up from our phones and catch up in real life and connect,” said Mr Fry.

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