Loneliness is rising: 1 in 8 adults have no close friends

Release Date: Wednesday 1st March 2017

Charity report shows an increase in the number of people with no close friends

Almost seven million UK adults, more than 1 in 8 of us report having no close friends. This has increased from 1 in 10 when the same question was asked in 2014 and 2015.

Relate found that almost half of UK adults say they feel lonely at least some of the time and almost a fifth said that they feel lonely often or all of the time.  Sadly, almost one in six said they never or rarely feel loved.

The good news is that 83% of people in the UK enjoy good relationships with their friends.

The most commonly reported number of close friends is two or three.

Relate is concerned that increased dependence on social media, lack of work/life balance and the pressures of bringing up children could be affecting people’s friendships.  Chief Executive Chris Sherwood commented:

“It’s often said that we should be able to count our true friends on one hand, but it’s very concerning that so many people feel they don’t have a single friend they can rely on.  Making friends and keeping them isn’t always easy: it can take time and effort that we don’t always have to spare. Life can take over as we juggle careers with family life, and it might seem as if our social media friend count is high but what is the quality of those friendships really like?

“Social relationships are essential to our health and wellbeing.  We mustn’t take them for granted. People need support to be able to nurture personal friendships and feel part of a community.  Individual counselling could also provide part of the solution for anyone who’s feeling lonely and Relate’s doors are always open.”

The report, which is based on a survey of more than 5,000 people, found that the number of friends we have and the quality of those friendships has an impact on our wellbeing. People with no close friends are two-and-a-half times as likely to say they feel down, depressed or hopeless and people who reported their friendships to be ‘very good’ are more than twice as likely to feel good about themselves often or all of the time as people who said their relationships were ‘average’.

You can read the report in full here.

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