Having the same friends for 50 years, does this exist?


Yes, it does. Our research shows that people in our present ‘multiple choice society’ often have known their friends even longer than their partner. However, in general, networks are very dynamic: within seven years about 70% of our friends will be replaced. This does not mean that we have no contact with each other anymore, but that the function of the relationship changes. A former soul mate may no longer be part of the circle of trusted friends but still be mentioned within the group of friends we go out with. As yet, the role of social media within friendship relations is limited: 95% of us meet friends face-to-face on a regular basis. This seems more important than contact via email or Whatsapp. The activities we engage in with our friends are not practical or instrumental, but mostly consist of talking, visiting, and going out together. When it comes to practical activities, such as DIY or getting groceries for someone who is ill, we sooner ask neighbours than friends.