More and more people today are moving away from where their friends and family live. Do the advantages of this trend outweigh the disadvantages?
Some feel the growing tendency for individuals to move away from where their friends and family live is a decidedly negative phenomenon. In my opinion, the perceived downsides related to social disintegration are overstated and do not supersede the benefits for individuals.
On the one hand, living apart from friends and family weakens social bonds. An individual living together with their family or a close group of friends will naturally spend time with them talking, preparing meals, doing housework, and generally being together. Strong bonds develop and the inverse is true as time apart typically leads to more tenuous emotional connections. For instance, a person who moves to a new country after university is likely to make new friends and may stay in touch with former connections as a formality. Over time, this person might feel lonely and struggle to maintain long-term relationships.
On the other hand, moving is often a catalyst for individual growth. Someone who moves to a new country for work or study is likely to encounter people from different backgrounds with a greater number of viewpoints and experiences than their former friends and family. Interacting with new people can lead to a broader range of interests and a keener understanding of other cultures. Moreover, many individuals leave their hometowns in order to escape toxic situations. Families can be controlling and limiting, either intentionally or unintentionally, and moving to a new location allows a person to choose their friends, break old patterns of behavior, and achieve better mental health.
In conclusion, despite the threat of weakened familial and friendship bonds, there are significant benefits for the individual that make this trend positive. A balance is needed but this change is not inherently objectionable.