YouGov Friendship Study Part Two: Friendship circles and types of friends Britons have

Milan DinicResearch Manager
December 16, 2021, 10:14 AM UTC

Which of these types of friends do Brits have?

More than a third of Britons (37%) report having friends they don’t really bother to see, with this being more the case for men (41%) than women (34%). Younger Britons are the most likely to report having friends which they don’t bother seeing - 43-46% of 16-39-year-olds.

Nearly one in ten Britons (9%) has a friend they don’t really like. This is mostly the case with 16-24-year-olds, where 18% have friends they’re not very fond of.

One in five Britons (18%) say they have friends out of habit rather than choice, with this being the case more for 16-24-year-olds (26%) compared to other age groups. A fifth of Britons (22%) have friends out of convenience (for reasons such as doing the same leisure activities or working in the same place), with more men (25%) than women (19%) having these kinds of friendships.

Results also show that 4% of Britons have ‘pity friends’ - people they don’t really want to hang out with but feel sorry for.

How many friends do people have who hold different political beliefs from theirs?

The contentious topic of the 2016 Brexit referendum and the political disputes which arose in recent years caused heated debates and tension between Britons, as earlier YouGov research has found.

The YouGov Friendship Study finds that 22% of Britons report  having ‘hardly any’ (17%) or no (5%) friends with different political beliefs. A plurality of Britons (35%) say that some of their friends have differing views, while 13% say they have a ‘fair amount’ and 6% say ‘most’ of their friends have different political views.

Labour voters (35%) are most likely to say they have no or hardly any friends with different political views, followed by one in four (25%) Lib Dem voters and just 14% of Conservative voters. A fifth (22%) of Conservative voters note that most or a large number of their friends have opposing political views, while this drops to 17% among Lib Dem voters and 15% among those who voted for the Labour party.

Do Britons have friends that are ten years older or younger than them?

More than half of Britons (53%) report having a friend with whom they have a 10 year age gap, with this being more the case among women (57%) than men (48%) – 42% of Britons say they do not.

Extroverted Britons (62%) are more likely than introverted Britons (46%)  to have friends who are at least a decade older or younger than them.

See full results here