New research suggests that all we need in our lives are five trusted people. In modern society, there are five different types of people we need to succeed: an agony aunt, an emotional supporter, someone good with money, a practical person, and a colleague we can ask for work advice.
The study, which involved 1,047 adults and was conducted by Nationwide Building Society, reveals that 32 percent of British people don’t feel they have “anyone on their side.”
It also revealed that men are twice as likely as women to feel that they have no one to turn to in their daily lives, with 42 percent and 23 percent respectively.
It also found that 73 percent of people in the southeast of England feel more supported than any other region.
British people over the age of 55 feel that they have fewer trusted friends than any other age group, with 40 percent.
To research discovered that are main needs are for someone to listen to our problems (23 percent); for someone to provide emotional support (18 percent); and for someone to ease the pressures of everyday life (18 percent).
The economic climate also influences the study, with money issues pegged as one of the main reasons why people yearn for a support network.
One in six (16 percent) say that they need someone to help them save money or get rid of debt, according to the study. 15 percent confide in work colleagues and five percent seek advice from their boss.
The research suggests that work support is more important to men, with 11 percent seeking advice. Five percent of women seek advice and support at work.
In contrast, 15 percent of women say they need someone they can turn to to help them manage familial relationships.
Susan Quilliam, relationship psychologist, said: ‘No matter how strong and independent people are, we all need someone to lean on at key stages in life.’
It could be an ear to listen, a wise head to provide some advice, a shoulder to cry on or someone who is completely removed from the situation you are in.
Strong support networks are essential to help alleviate the pressures of life, decision-making and ultimately, stop people from feeling like they are on their own.
It might be a life-changing decision, a topic you find hard to talk about, an everyday rant or a light-hearted chat about something you consider trivial – it doesn’t matter.
Talking to different people and seeking advice can provide fresh perspectives, impartial points-of-view and help you think more laterally about a subject or stage in your life.
No-one should or can make decisions for you but the knowledge that someone else is on your side can make all the difference when it comes to your wellbeing.’
The findings confirmed that we turn to different people for different problems.
Office worker Simon Turner, 27, of London, said: ‘Although I do have someone I would call a best friend I find it’s important to have several people I can turn to for different things.’
My best mate is not the person I go to when I want advice about money or jobs and I have a female friend who is great for relationship advice.
Andy McQueen, Marketing Director at Nationwide, said: ‘When times are good, people tend to worry whether they are on the right career path or whether they are achieving long-held ambitions.
But when times are bad – such as when the economy is suffering – people are forced to worry about everyday essentials, like whether they can cover their bills.