British people are friendlier than their reputation suggests

by Ray Clancy on April 19, 2016

When moving to a new country it is helpful when local people and those you work with are friendly as becoming an expat, especially for the first time can be daunting.

The British as a nation are known for their reserve but new research shows that they are actually friendlier than you might think. But they are still very traditional with women tending to socialise on the school run, whilst men meet at the pub.

The research from TSB Mortgages has examined relationships, friendships and partnerships in local communities across Britain and has questioned the notion that communities are becoming more isolated.


Perhaps surprisingly, some 80% of British people know their neighbour’s names, around half, 47% speak to them regularly and 31% would consider them friends. When asked, 10% of people polled said that they’d like to know their neighbours better and 52% of people said that feeling “part of a community” was important to them.

The research showed that the picture was fairly consistent across the country, however only 72% of people in London knew their neighbour’s names, the lowest in the country. But the capital had one of the highest rates of people considering neighbours as friends at 33%, perhaps indicating that in fast paced urban areas, people tend to forge fewer but stronger connections to each other.

As well as looking at neighbours, the research also looked at friendship groups, finding that women tend to have fewer friends in their local area, with an average of six, compared to men who had an average of seven pals living close by.

Men were more likely to socialise with their friends at the pub than women at 43% of men compared to 28% of women, whereas 59% of women said they spent more time socialising with friends at home.

Some 21% of women said they combined socialising with friends and the school run, tending to catch up with other parents whilst picking up and dropping off kids. This is compared to just 13% of men.

“It seems the traditional image of Brits politely nodding to their neighbour as they scurry through their front door may no longer be accurate, as the research has found that almost half of us speak to our neighbours regularly and one in three people class them as friends,” said Ian Ramsden, TSB mortgages director.

“As the speed of life has increased with more people spending less time catching up face-to-face, and more time keeping in touch online and on social media so it’s great to see that the majority of us have friendly faces right on our doorstep,” he pointed out.

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