Portrait of a happy group of smiling female friends – women laughing and having fun in the park on a sunny day

(© StratfordProductions - stock.adobe.com)

LONDON — The average person spends just four hours a month socializing with friends – meeting up just twice during that period, according to new research. More than a quarter (27%) of the 2,000 adults polled said they are spending less time in person with friends this year compared to last.

This trend is most pronounced among millennials between the ages of 25 and 34, where 37 percent are struggling to find time for their pals – compared to 33 percent of 35 to 44-year-olds. In fact, Gen Zers between 18 and 24 are the only age group spending more time with their pals this year, as opposed to less (36% vs. 31%).

The top three reasons for not spending more time with friends are the distance (36%), a busy work schedule (35%), and family commitments (33%). Overall, 51 percent of those with kids under 18 spend just one collective hour a week socializing with friends in person – with 35 percent meeting them only once a month.

As the holidays approach, however, 31 percent are on a mission to change this, planning to spend some quality time with friends three times a week on average. It’s those with children who are most eager to mix it up, as 40 percent of parents plan to get in more time with friends – accepting just two precious moments during the entire month as a blessing.

Group of friends at holiday party
(© Monkey Business – stock.adobe.com)

The most popular things to do with friends include having a meal together (59%), drinking a cup of tea (49%), or going to the pub (45%). However, 58 percent want to try and experience new things together, as they felt it would create stronger bonds between them.

More than one in 10 (12%) admitted to wanting to share quiet time with their best friend over their partners, according to the research by OnePoll.

“The festive period is often about spending time with loved ones, says Andrea Burchett, chief loyalty officer and managing director at Virgin Red, which commissioned the research, in a statement.

“It’s the reason people travel across the country – or even the world – to share moments together. While many people struggle to find the time to get together over the year, it’s great to see many are planning to make extra effort this festive season to reconnect with friends and family.”

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72Point writer Charlie Bayliss contributed to this report.

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