Seven in 10 adults admit they’d feel ‘completely lost’ without their closest friends
A poll of 2,000 adults revealed 51 per cent see their close friend at least once a week, while one in 10 see their companions less than every six months.
Regardless of the frequency of time in person, 32 per cent message their best friend at least daily, if not multiple times a day.
And 49 per cent ensure they speak to them on the phone regularly.
It also emerged 46 per cent wished they could see their close friends more often than they do now.
And such is the bond, 55 per cent speak to them about more sensitive topics over anyone else, even their partner or family.
Zetun Arif, director and optometrist for Specsavers Home Visits, which commissioned the research to celebrate Friendship month and highlight how those unable to leave their homes can feel bouts of loneliness, said: “Friends can play a vital part in our lives and are formed throughout the years in so many different ways.
“The research has shown how much value there is in strong friendships, and in particular the support they can provide; however not everyone is always as lucky enough to see those closest to them on a regular basis.
“And in that instance, the odd visit from a friend or even someone stopping in professionally can do the world of good to give someone feeling a little lonely, a boost.”
Trust is the key ingredient to friendship
Respondents have known their best friend for an average of 22 years, and met them at work, secondary school or university.
Laughter, support in difficult situations and always being there when they’re needed, were the things they offered most.
While 19 per cent said they’re very reliant on their close friends, according to the OnePoll data.
It also emerged 49 per cent have developed a friendship with someone they see professionally, such as their optometrist or hairdresser.
And the most admired attributes of their friends were their supportiveness, their honesty and how loyal they are.
However, feelings of loneliness, isolation and sadness were commonly felt when unable to spend time with those close to them.
The most important components to a long-lasting friendship were seen to be trust, listening to each other and providing support.
Specsavers Home Visits, which commissioned the survey, offers free eye tests in the home and in care homes for people who qualify for an NHS-funded eye test and are unable to leave their home unaccompanied due to a physical or mental illness or disability.
Forming new connections
Zetun Arif, from Specsavers Home Visits, which offers free eye tests in the home and in care homes for people who qualify for an NHS-funded eye test but can't leave their home unaccompanied due to a physical or mental illness or disability, added: “The power of friendship cannot be underestimated, and the boost people can get from them can be enormous.
“Yet sometimes people aren’t as lucky as others and struggle to get a needed pick-me-up from those they care about due to challenging personal circumstances.
“For example, those who are housebound can find themselves at a disadvantage in terms of being unable to see their close friends regularly.
“However, those who do find themselves in that situation can often see a friendly face through our Home Visits service which could make all the difference to them.”
Jane Nelson, CEO of The Oddfellows, a non-profit organisation that runs an annual Friendship Month campaign, said: “We are dedicated to promoting the value of friendship and helping individuals, especially those who may otherwise feel lonely or isolated.
“We encourage those feeling a bit isolated to see what’s available in your area.
“It’s fun to try new experiences and make new connections."
Top 10 ingredients to a long-lasting friendship
- Listening to each other
- Supporting each other
- Always being there to help each other
- Similar sense of humour
- Being thoughtful
- Shared morals and values
- Shared interests
- Wanting to spend time together