It’s not just Harry and William: 17% of Britons have stopped speaking to their sibling

Eir NolsoeData Journalist
June 10, 2021, 2:12 PM UTC

Cutting contact with a sibling is as common as pausing a close friendship

Much of the coverage of Prince Philip’s funeral was focused on his feuding grandsons, Prince Harry and Prince William, who rather than walking side by side were separated by their cousin, Peter Phillips.

New YouGov data shows that Harry and William are not alone in their familial spat.

In fact, among all types of family relations, siblings are the most likely to stop speaking to each other. One in six Britons (17%) say they have cut off contact with their brother or sister temporarily, while 7% have done so permanently.

Such fallouts seem to happen later in life for many people: only 9% of 18-24 year olds say they’ve temporarily stopped speaking to their sibling, compared with a fifth (19%) of those aged 25-64.  

Equally common as falling out with a family member is stopping contact with a close friend. About a fifth of Britons (18%) have done so for some time, while one in seven (14%) say they’re permanently not speaking to a formerly close mate. The figures are highest among young people, with three in ten 18- 24 year olds (29%) having stopped talking to a friend momentarily, while a fifth (20%) have done so for good. 

Many Britons have also cut contact with one of their parents. This includes one in seven (14%) who stopped talking to their mother for some time and 3% permanently. The figures for Britons not talking to their fathers are similar, with 13% pausing the relationship temporarily, while one in twenty (5%) say it’s final. Just over half of the public (55%) have never paused contact with a close friend or family member temporarily, including 59% of men and 51% of women. Seven in ten (70%) have never done so permanently.

See the full results here