The nearly universal institution of close friendship is eroded by many forces in modern life, leading to loneliness, undue pressure on marriage to supply a partner's total needs for intimacy, accumulation of feelings of guilt and shame as friendship relationships are diminished and destroyed over the life of the individual, and resulting cynicism and decreasing possibilities for individual independence of judgement and action as the individual becomes more isolated. Though modern life supplies a person with a large number of acquaintances, colleagues and superficial friends, it tends to prevent those relationships from deepening into engagement and commitment because of the effects of personal, social, economic and physical mobility, among many other factors.
Students aged 10 to 15 years, who are in greatest need of intimate relationships are frequently placed in large impersonal schools incapable of meeting these needs.
The loss of personal relationships in neighbourhoods and small towns, the relative rigid hierarchies of work places and the lack of alternative places for intimate relationships to develop, makes it difficult for friendships to develop.
The elimination of dyadic friendship opens the way for individuals to relate to broader groups, up to and including their identification with all human beings. Friendship is a relationship typical of primitive social conditions. Increased wealth, political and physical security and various sorts of mobility allow individuals to free themselves from narrow bounds and to develop their potential in ever more various circumstances and, therefore, with ever more individual results.