Report: State of Friendship

A First-Of-Its Kind Study Reveals National “Friendship Crisis” Facing Adults

New research provides a scientifically clear-eyed view into the state of friendship in America. And the findings are troubling.

Only a quarter of adults report being truly satisfied with their friendships. And almost two-thirds lack confidence in even their closest friends. Facing this, most Americans — by more than 2 to 1 — say they’d prefer to have deeper friendships than more friends.

Packed with fascinating (and quirky) insights from the front lines of friendship, we hope this report will help kickstart an important conversation — about how to be better, get deeper and live more fully with friends. Let’s get talking.

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To book an interview with Tim and Alia of Lifeboat, please:


email press@getlifeboat.com
or call: (202) 664-0924

KEY FINDINGS
QUIRKY FINDINGS
SUMMARY
RELEASE
METHOD. & THANKS
  • INFOGRAPHIC #1: KEY FINDINGS (Download)

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  • INFOGRAPHIC #2: QUIRKIER FINDINGS (Download)

    quirky report findings

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    (Download Infographic)
  • EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

    1. Most people are not fully satisfied with or secure about the state of their friendships.

    2. Gen-Xers and Baby Boomers exhibit markedly lower levels of overall satisfaction with their friendships than do Millennials and Seniors, indicating a mid-life friendships slump.

    3. People who say they have more close friends are happier and more fulfilled in life than those who say they have fewer or none. Most people, given the choice, would prefer deeper friendships to having more friends.

    4. The qualities most people look for in friends are markedly similar across demographics, including gender, age, race, and geography. Most people want friends who are loyal, are good people, and who will be there for them in a crisis. Among attributes considered least important are physical attractiveness, similar political views, and similar religious views.

    5. Women say they have access to more intimate friendships, but they are no happier than men with the state of their friendships.

    6. Use of social media is probably not a factor one way or the other in the quality of one’s friendships or one’s overall friendship satisfaction.

    7. Those seeking more fulfillment from their friendships should invest disproportionate time and energy in the relationships they consider close.

  • PRESS RELEASE

    CONTACTS: CJ Frogozo, CJ@FitzGIbbonMedia.com, 310 570 2622
    Kayla Keller, Kayla@FitzGibbonMedia.com, 281 682 6212

     

    NEW GROUNDBREAKING REPORT REVEALS NATIONAL "FRIENDSHIP CRISIS" AMONG ADULTS

    First-of-its-Kind Research Reveals that Only a Quarter of Americans are Truly Satisfied with Their Friendships; Almost Two-Thirds Lack Confidence in Even Their Closest Friends

    * View Report here: http://getlifeboat.com/report *

     

    Brooklyn, NY -- A groundbreaking report released today from Lifeboat, a group dedicated to rediscovering great friendship, reveals a growing “friendship crisis” facing adults across the nation. A first-of-its-kind study, State Of Friendship In America, 2013, found that less than a quarter of Americans truly satisfied with their friendships and almost two-thirds lacking confidence in even their closest friends.

    Other key findings from the report include:

    • Hit hardest by the crisis, Gen-Xers and Baby Boomers exhibit markedly lower levels of overall satisfaction with their friendships than do Millennials and Seniors, indicating a mid-life friendships slump.
    • Women say they have access to more intimate friendships, but they are no happier than men with the state of their friendships.
    • Most Americans -- by more than 2 to 1 -- would prefer to have deeper friendships than more friends.
    • Use of social media is not a factor one way or the other in the quality of one’s friendships or one’s overall friendship satisfaction.
    • Most Americans doubt that their close friends would have their back in a crisis, for example, to lend them $500 (33%), bail them out of jail (23%) or donate a kidney (22%).
    • Those seeking more fulfillment from their friendships should invest disproportionate time and energy in the relationships they consider “close.”

    The study also uncovered many interesting quirks and facts about friendship across different demographic groups in America, such as:


    • People who attend religious services once a week or more are twice as likely to express complete satisfaction with their friendships as those who seldom or never attend services.
    • Conservatives (32 percent extremely satisfied) are more likely to be satisfied with their friendships than liberals (21 percent extremely satisfied).
    • Urban dwellers (31 percent) are more satisfied with their friendships than people in rural areas (21 percent).

    "If you’re feeling lonely or uncertain about your friendships, you’re not alone,” says Lifeboat co-founder, Tim Walker. “That’s the experience of most adults across the country. We’re just beginning to understand why and what we can do about it. Hopefully this research will help kickstart that important conversation.”

    “I think this report will give backing to what people feel in their gut,” says Alia McKee, Co-Founder of Lifeboat. ”In our age of constant connection and ever growing networks, we’re missing out on the deeper relationships that actually sustain us and light up our lives.”

    The study is based on a scientifically representative national sample and was conducted for Lifeboat by research firms Edge Research and Sea Change Strategies.

    The founders of Lifeboat, Tim Walker and Alia McKee, were first called to the project by their own mid-life friendship slump.  After spending the past two years exploring the uncharted art and science of friendship -- from academic research, philosophy, expert advice and life experience -- they were left with many unanswered questions. They launched State of Friendship in America, 2013 as part of their ongoing work to better understand the meaning of friendship today.

    To book an interview with Tim and Alia of Lifeboat, please contact Kayla Keller at Kayla@FitzGibbonMedia.com or CJ Frogozo at CJ@FitzGibbonMedia.com.

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    ABOUT LIFEBOAT:

    Lifeboat began as the unlikely adventure of two 30-somethings—spirited, outgoing professionals—who woke up one day to find themselves mired in a mid-life friendship slump.  Together, they set out on a journey to discover what friendship in adulthood really means—transforming themselves from social-but-unsatisfied, fast-food-friendship junkies into self-assured friendship pioneers.

    Along the way, Tim Walker’s and Alia McKee’s personal quest grew into something more.  In February 2013, with a network of colleagues and comrades, they brought Lifeboat online to share their story and learnings about the art and science of friendship, and to help transform an idea into a movement.

    Read the founding story here

    ABOUT LIFEBOAT FOUNDERS ALIA MCKEE & TIM WALKER

    Alia McKee is an opera-singing social worker who recently moved to Brooklyn from Austin, Texas.  She’s crazy about dogs. She’s a non-profit marketing expert. And she’s extraordinarily curious about friends.

    Tim Walker might hang his toque in Brooklyn, but he’s Canadian to the core. He runs long distances.  He’s a marketer and entrepreneur.  And most of the things he knows about friends, he learned at summer camp.

  • Methodology

    This report summarizes our findings from a survey of 1016 Americans ages 16 and up. The survey was conducted in January 2013 using an online opt-in research panel maintained by Survey Sampling Inc.

    A stratified sampling technique was used in order to get 100 survey completes in each of 10 age brackets. Quotas were maintained throughout data collection on key demographics. For analysis, we weighted the data to reflect the actual demographic and geographic distribution of the population.

    The margin of error at a 95% confidence level is +/- 3.1%

    Acknowledgements

    This study would not have been possible without the leadership of the whip-smart research teams at Edge Research and Sea Change Strategies.

    We’d like to specifically thank the following people for not only believing in the project, but also dedicating their expertise and precious time to creating the first ever State of Friendship in America report:

    Lisa Dropkin of Edge Research helped shape the research strategy, analyzed the data, and served as our chief quantitative expert.

    Mark Rovner of Sea Change Strategies was the principal architect of the study and substantively wrote this white paper.

    Huge thanks also go to Lindsay Gutekunst and Emily Hahn of Edge Research for herding cats and data; to Neal Maher for the infographics and to Jen Christiansen for design.

    It is our collective hope that this research contributes to a deeper and richer conversation about friendship and its role in our lives. - Tim Walker & Alia McKee, Lifeboat Co-founders