Call it the "singular-single syndrome": We have it. Twenge recently conducted a study of 200 student participants at San Diego State, and 90% of them answered the questionnaire stating they live by grand individualistic philosophies like, "You shouldn't ever need anyone else to make you feel complete" and "You have to make yourself happy." Read: Can You Buy Happiness?
Based on this study and a handful of others Twenge has conducted in the last few years, she concludes that today's young adults feel they need to be completely self-sufficient in their happiness.
The fact is, young American adults view deep emotional involvement with others as weakness and dependence. It's not just that our culture accepts and accommodates the single lifestyle now—it's that it actually disparages the individual who isn't focused solely on her own personal advancement.
The ubiquitous teachings from our capitalist culture media, Boomer-generation parents who toiled to teach us the importance of pursuing personal goals, and teachers in an increasingly survival-of-the-very-fittest education system—all these emphasize the individual and her goals, not her need for involvement with others.
Twenge also said that a study she's currently conducting with W. Keith Campbell leads to the conclusion that narcissism in America is higher than it's ever been before, and by definition of considering themselves more important than the people they associate with, narcissistic people make terrible relationship partners. Read: Are You Dating A Narcissist?
Twenge blames this spike in narcissism on societal teachings like those aforementioned but also feels that purported social networking devices like MySpace and Facebook are less a method of connecting with others than a means of shameless self-promotion giving the individual limitless opportunity to think about themselves and advertise why other people should want to know them.