Why Friends Are the Family for Two-Thirds of Brits

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The FINANCIAL — More than half (51 per cent) of Brits claim to have more online friends now than they did five years ago, with the average person today boasting 554 virtual mates. Yet even in the ‘Golden Age’ of social media, we can count close, ‘real-life’ friendships on just one hand – with only five ‘true and close’ pals in our inner circle.

These figures were released in new research from Pingit – the app that allows for fast, easy payments between friends and family with just a mobile number – that provides a ‘state of the nation’ report on modern British relationships, according to Barclays.

The findings reveal two-thirds (65 per cent) of us trust our closest friends more than our own relatives and best buddies are more likely than family to cheer up a third (36 per cent) in hard times.

A friend in need is a friend indeed, with over half (55 per cent) saying they would ‘drop everything’ to help a mate. 49 per cent claim they’d be happy to have a friend couch surf at their place indefinitely, 38 per cent would tell a white lie and one in eight (13 percent) would tell a whopper. But it’s not just furniture and half-truths that are shared – one in five (21 per cent) would take it a step further and donate a kidney to their cherished chums.

Many of us are also ‘banking’ on the financial generosity of our friends. Nearly half (49 per cent) would give a pal their last £10 and in flush times, they’ve offered a lot more – the maximum amount Brits have loaned their buddies is, on average, £1,860.

Finances play a role when getting together with the gang, too. A quarter of us (26 per cent) struggle to find an activity that works within everyone’s budget, whilst one in ten (9 per cent) admit that splitting the bill is a challenge.

Pingit released the findings to highlight how the app, which offers instant, easy payments and features such as bill-splitting capabilities, can help us spend less time sorting our spending and more time bonding with our buddies.

According to the study about friendship groups, the most appreciated person within the ensemble is the ‘shoulder to cry on’ (42 per cent) followed by ‘the organiser’ – who initiates social events, finds the best deals and splits the bill afterwards – and ‘the joker’ friend who lightens the mood (19 per cent respectively).

And it’s old friends that are the best for Brits. The research shows that we’ve been knocking around with the same set of loyal mates for an average of 17 years. Those who constitute our friends for life are school buddies (38 per cent) followed by work colleagues (29 per cent) and those who live just around the corner (23 per cent).


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