One in three people in Ireland say not having enough time is a major factor when it comes to maintaining friendships – New research from Core on social relationships

Men aged 18-44 are significantly more likely than women of the same age to state ‘lack of time’ as a main reason for not being able to maintain friendships


  • 68% say it is now more difficult to meet new people, with three in five sometimes feeling lonely


  • 58% feel friendships are now more important than romantic relationships


  • 70% of single men say they are content compared to 81% of single women


One in three people feel they don’t have enough time to maintain their friendships, with younger men nearly twice as likely to say this than women of the same age, according to new research on relationships from Core, Ireland’s largest marketing communications agency.


This new research delves into how romantic and social relationships have evolved as a result of the pandemic and multiple lockdowns over the past few years and the importance of social connections to Irish people.


The average person in Ireland has five close friends and up to 46 friends they socialise with on a regular basis. The research shows that people claim to spend over 60 hours a month with those in their inner circle or most trusted friends and this group is most influential on decisions.


Despite 87% of people saying they are content with the social relationships or friendships in their life, the research revealed that there is a significant interest in meeting new people, with almost half (48%) of adults wanting to make new connections.


However, over two thirds (68%) believe it is becoming more difficult to socialise with new people, with men in their thirties and younger women aged between 18 and 44 most likely to experience this. The research from Core also found that best friends are usually made earlier in life, with one in three meeting through school or their local area.


Interestingly, 70% of single men say they are content, compared to 81% of single women, with women’s contentment building over time and highest among females aged 60 years old. While 58% of people now consider friendships to be more important than romantic relationships, 92% of those in a relationship are more likely to be content with other friendships and connections in their life. The research also shows that friendships are valued most among older age groups, as retirement provides more time for friendships.


Three in five adults (61%) experience loneliness at times. Surprisingly, this feeling is highest among women aged 18-29 and men age 30-44. This sense of loneliness declines over time as contentment in social relationships builds. Feelings of isolation are lowest for men and women aged 60+.


The research also looked at the influence different types of relationships can have on decision making, including purchasing products and services or seeking advice. For example, 36% of respondents said a trusted friend is strongly influential when making choices with parents following closely behind at 34%.


Commenting on the results Finian Murphy, Marketing Director at Core, said:

“Restricted movements and periods of lockdown over the last number of years have greatly changed the way we live and our relationships. While many people are content with their social relationships, some feel they do not have the time to maintain these friendships as they struggle to navigate a work life balance. This also can result in people experiencing loneliness; however, it is promising to see that levels of loneliness decline over time as friendships strengthen. It’s also positive to see that men and women want to create new connections, although this has become increasingly difficult to do, particularly as the workplace becomes more virtual. While the majority of people form lifelong friendships from a young age, the research still shows that there is a demand for social groups among adults, particularly within the 18–44 age bracket.”


To read the full report, visit: