Wooden figures hugging

Photo by Marco Bianchetti on Unsplash

NEW YORK —Perhaps the sign of a true friendship is when trust isn’t broken. To that point, it turns out the average American has five people in their life they have a very strong relationship with and can lean on for anything. A new survey gauging 2,000 Americans’ gratitude for the relationships in their lives reveals that seven in 10 are feeling more thankful for the people in their life this year than ever before (71%).

From finding someone who is trustworthy (48%) or a good listener (41%) to finding someone loyal (33%), nearly three-quarters of respondents agree that strong partnerships help simplify the complexities of life (74%). Conducted by OnePoll for SurePayroll, the survey found three in five feel more sentimental about the relationships in their life around the holiday season in November and December.

Similarly, 85 percent believe good communication is key to relationships that feel fulfilling, yet simple.

Outside of their close circle, people have some of the best partnerships with their neighbors and doctors. Nearly a third of employed respondents say one of their strongest partnerships is with a co-worker (31%).

close relationships

Some Americans are even close with businesses

Forty percent of respondents also shared that they have a strong relationship with a small business, citing that they understand their needs (55%), offer personalized service (54%), or are available when they need them (51%).

“The foundation for fulfilling relationships is similar, whether with a family member, coworker, healthcare provider or a neighborhood small business,” says Jenna Shklyar, head of marketing at SurePayroll, in a statement.

Half of respondents say it’s hard to form a good partnership with people outside of their circle, and a similar percentage say this only gets more difficult as they get older (51%) – reaching peak difficulty in the early to mid-40s. This may be why many are treasuring the partnerships they do have, with most agreeing that they try their hardest to keep in touch with the people in their life during the bustle of the holiday season (63%). In fact, half of those surveyed use technology more during the holiday season to keep in touch with loved ones than at other times of the year (52%).

Fifty-one percent even attribute the closeness of their relationships to technology, sharing that it allows them to express appreciation for the people in their life when they can’t be there in person (74%).

A digital heart-to-heart

Most respondents recall having a virtual heart-to-heart conversation with someone using technology – whether over the phone, video call, or email – (54%), and similarly, 50 percent would sentimentally reminisce on that conversation at a later time.

Of the different types of businesses, 83 percent of Americans have the easiest time forming strong relationships with small businesses and are most likely to trust them when compared to mid-size and large businesses (70%).

“Americans crave connection—especially during the holidays—and prioritize trust in their personal and business relationships. That trust can be a difference-maker in the competitive marketplace, especially if small business owners directly connect their online presence to in-store promotions,” says Shklyar.

“Local mom-and-pop small businesses have an edge over mid-size and large businesses when it comes to using technology to form relationships with customers, yet customers still rate forming an in-person connection more important than a strong online presence.”

About Chris Melore

Chris Melore has been a writer, researcher, editor, and producer in the New York-area since 2006. He won a local Emmy award for his work in sports television in 2011.

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  1. DCM says:

    Circular firing squads?

  2. ree says:

    I have one… myself.

    1. David Collins says:

      You win the internet. I was going to say 4 of the 5 are dogs and the other is myself.

  3. dammitt says:

    I don’t trust this study.

    1. Chris says:

      I don’t think most people have 5 people that they trust. For me I have my wonderful wife and my best friend of 15 years who I trust completely. After that it’s a mixed bag depending on circumstances.

  4. Skeptical Polyglot says:

    I’m surprised the survey indicates that the number of individuals an ‘average person’ trusts is five people. That supposedly means half have more than five and half have fewer than five. But what of the person who claims to have a hundred ‘friends’ and a multitude of others claim to have one or none?

    Show me a person who claims to have a multitude of friends. Most, if not all, are ‘fair weather’ friends and not really friends at all.

    Tis nearing the season, so I’ll say it “Humbug!”

    1. Disillusioned Widower says:

      I dare say that the vast majority of people who claim to have five souls they can trust shall live long enough to learn that they are fortunate to have one, maybe two in their entire lives. The resounding disillusionment of that discovery will be a bitter pill to swallow.

      I thought I had friends. It turns out that I had one – my wife. After she died I learned that I had no trusted friends at all, especially those who professed to be at her deathbed. None.

      This survey is based purely on fanciful wishes, dreams and lies of the young and inexperienced. Give them time. They don’t know what they don’t know.