Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

One in 10 people have no close friends, survey finds


Almost five million Britons don't have a close friend, a new large-scale study has found.

Despite social media making it easier than ever to connect with people, a survey of more than 5,000 Britons by Relate has discovered that one in 10 people - the equivalent of 4.7 million Brits - don't have anyone in their lives that they would consider to be a "close friend".

The report, entitled The Way We Are Now, also found that people with multiple close friendships were also more likely to rate the quality of those relationships as "good" or "very good", while only a quarter of those with one close friend described their friendship with them as "very good."

However, the study also found that 7% of people with 10 or more friends admitted that they "never or rarely" feel close to others.

The study findings challenged the notion that women are more likely to have more close friends than men, with one in 20 male participants reporting having 15 or more close friends, compared to just one in 50 women.

A summary of the relationship charity's wide-ranging study findings:


Women's relationships with their friends appear to get better with age, according to the findings. While one in four 16-24-year-olds described their relationships with their friends as "very good", this figure rose to three in five for women aged 65 and over. Men’s views about the quality of their friendships remained much the same across their age groups.

The study found that people who lived with their partners were more likely to have less contact with their friends and warned of the importance of maintaining friendships.

"Friendships shouldn’t be seen as second best to couple relationships – they form part of a wider network of relationships that all contribute to how we feel about ourselves," Relate counsellor Christine Northam explained. "Friendships often take a back seat when people enter into couple relationships, but this can be a mistake, as friendships can actually help to strengthen couple relationships."

How many close friends do you have? Have you experienced loneliness through a lack of close friendships? Share your experiences, anonymously if you prefer, at stories@stylist.co.uk

Infographic: Relate



Is drinking the secret of great friendship?


Female friendship in fiction


Lucy Mangan talks friendships: "We can’t be all things to all people"


Celebrity bridesmaids; the A-list stars who supported their friends on the big day

taylor swift blake lively.JPG

Unexpected and adorable celebrity friendships


A duck and a dog have a long friendship as seen in viral videos



“How beauty rituals help me manage my depression”

One writer found comfort in an unexpected place

21 Oct 2016

Stress is genuinely good for you, experts reveal

Forget everything you thought you knew about stress…

by Kayleigh Dray
21 Oct 2016

Must-watch Christmas TV: tune in for Roald Dahl's Revolting Rhymes

Just in time for Christmas

by Sarah Biddlecombe
21 Oct 2016

Bake Off fans, the BBC has already found a replacement show for GBBO

And it's set to hit our televisions very soon...

by Kayleigh Dray
21 Oct 2016

Costa’s fancy new menu includes avocado toast and Prosecco

You may want to dress up for the world’s poshest Costa…

by Kayleigh Dray
21 Oct 2016

Real-life victims of revenge porn share their stories

“Within a week, everyone had seen them… I tried to kill myself shortly after”

by Kayleigh Dray
21 Oct 2016

People diagnosed with a terminal illness share powerful life lessons

“You only get one life – and we need to live it”

by Kayleigh Dray
21 Oct 2016

This gin is officially the best in Europe – and it's from the UK

Gin drinkers, take note…

by Kayleigh Dray
21 Oct 2016

Amazing tasting menus from top UK restaurants for under £50

Total steals from Michelin-starred spots

by Amy Swales
20 Oct 2016

9 hilarious tips for making it in a male-dominated workplace

"Never say anything that sounds like a question, even questions."

by Harriet Hall
20 Oct 2016