From the minute we started school, we have been making friends – the day simply wouldn’t be the same without having a bestie to sit beside or giggle with.
And this need for friends doesn’t change as we grow up.
Yes, friendships alter as you enter different stages of life, whether it’s marriage or motherhood, but it remains an important part of life.
In fact, according to the second Future of Ireland nationwide study, which was carried out by leading media agency OMD, more than half of all Irish people say they have four or more close friends (who are not relatives) - and one in four saying they have an incredible six or more.
Interestingly, the share of adults with four or more close friends rises with age, from 42% of 16-24 year olds to 57% of over 55s.
Sadly, however, isolation does exist in Irish communities, with just under one in ten saying they have no close friends, and the same number either don’t have relatives or don’t feel close to the relatives they have.
But it takes more than friends and knowing your neighbours to create a community or a sense of belonging. While more than half of Irish adults say they have a strong sense of belonging and pride within their community, 13% saying that they do not feel this sense of pride.
Thankfully, more than half of participants feel safe walking alone in their area after dark 10% feel “somewhat or completely unsafe” and just one in four Irish people feel completely safe in their neighbourhoods.
The purpose of the Future of Ireland project is to encourage the conversation about our future and how we can help communities thrive through meeting their declared needs and ambitions.
To do so requires insight into current views, as well as some thoughts on what the future might look like, hence the report was collated to create an informed platform on which this important discourse can take place.