Skip to content

How Many True Friends Do We Need?

The average adult only has three true friends - and no idea how to make a new one, according to a study.

The average adult only has three true friends – and no idea how to make a new one, according to a study.

Researchers found Brits typically stop making new friends at 37 but one in four haven’t formed a new friendship since the age of 24. As a result, 22% often feel lonely – despite having a busy social life and lots of family around – and 72% would love to make new friends.


Despite this, 48% think it’s harder to make friends or meet new people as you get older. Close to one in five (17%) of the 2,000 people polled feel they are clueless when it comes to making new friendships, with a third admitting they’d be nervous at the prospect. However, 27% would be willing to take up a new activity in a bid to make new friends, while 18% would give meet-up apps a go.

The research was commissioned by Beavertown which has partnered with the charity, Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM), to launch ‘Crush Loneliness this January’.


Together, they will be running a series of social climbing events across the month at London and Lakeland Climbing Centres,  encouraging people to meet others or get involved with a group of mates and try climbing, to help curb loneliness throughout the month. “Loneliness is something which is happening all over the country, every day of the year,” said spokesperson for the brewery.


“Making friends is definitely something that was easier at the earlier stages of our lives for a number of reasons, but we are keen to show adults that there are other ways to get out there and meet new people.”


The study also found that of those who feel most lonely in January, 45% put it down to people not wanting to socialize after Christmas, while 42% blame it on the lack of events.

But 37% of all adults would be unlikely to admit they are feeling this way to someone else, as six in 10 believe there is a societal taboo around adult loneliness.


Reasons why people think it’s harder to make friends when you’re older include people already having established friendship groups (71%), not going out as much compared to their younger years (61%) and becoming less confident (35%).

And thinking about their closest friend, 37% first met them at school, while 32% connected at work.


While 21% of those polled via OnePoll were introduced by another friend or family member. The spokesperson for Beavertown added: “There are many different ways to make friends and meet new people, and it might be surprising to learn that a lot of people are in the same boat when it comes to having the confidence to try them out.


“We want to start people’s year off positively by crushing the taboo topic that is loneliness and hopefully being the catalyst to some long-standing future friendships.

“You’ll be seeing us working alongside CALM to create moments that bring people together and make life feel worth living for you and the people in your orbit.”


Produced in association with SWNS Talker

“What’s the latest with Florida Man?”

Get news, handpicked just for you, in your box.

Check out our free email newsletters

Recommended from our partners