The YouGov Friendship Study

Milan DinicDirector - Content Strategy and Innovation
December 16, 2021, 10:20 AM GMT+0

The YouGov Friendship Study looked at the attitudes and opinions of Britons about friendship. The study asked how many friends Britons have, how they met them and what type of friends they have. We also investigated how Britons feel about making friends and whether it’s easier to make friends with women or men. Following a year when the COVID-19 pandemic brought lockdowns and isolation, we also researched how this has impacted the relations between Britons and their friends and if anything has changed in how they value friendship.

The study was conducted from 16-22 June 2021 on a sample of 2,195 UK adults aged 16 and older.

The survey is divided into the following sections:

Part One: Close friends and broad group of friends: how many friends do Britons have?

Part Two: Friendship circles and types of friends Britons have

Part Three: Britons on making friends

Part Four: Friendship and gender: Can men and women be friends?

Part Five: How COVID-19 impacted Britons’ relations with their friends

Here are the top 11 things we found that show what Britons think about the subject of friendship:

  1. One in five Britons (20%) say they have become distanced from close friends due to the coronavirus pandemic. More men (23%) than women (17%) say their relationships with close friends have weakened during this period
  2. Four in ten Britons (40%) report losing contact with some of their friends since the coronavirus pandemic started. While 26% say they will seek to regain contact with these friends, 14% say they will not
  3. A third (35%) of Britons say they value their friendships more than before the pandemic, with this being the case particularly for women (40%)
  4. Despite lockdowns, a third of Britons (34%) say they’ve made a new friend in the last year
  5. Half of Britons (51%) say they find it difficult to make new friends. While a third (35%) find making friends ‘fairly difficult’, a further 16% say it’s ‘very difficult for them
  6. Three in ten (28%) say they do not have a ‘best friend’, with this being the case more for men (31%) than women (26%)
  7. A third (37%) report having friends they don’t really bother to see. Every eleventh Briton (9%) has a friend they don’t really like.
  8. Four percent say they are friends with someone out of pity
  9. One in ten British men (10%) and 5% of British women say that the majority of their friends are of the opposite gender. Eight in ten (84%) Britons think that men and women can be just friends, while 6% think they cannot
  10. When it comes to politics, Labour voters (35%) are most likely to say they have no or hardly any friends with different political views, more than twice as many as the 14% of Conservative voters who say the same
  11. A quarter of Britons (26%) have friends they’ve never met in person

The research in this article previously appeared in the Huffington Post

Explore more data & articles