The cost of friendship

Our close friends are precious. They’re the people who bring out the best in us, share the fun side of life with us and who are there to pick us up when things get us down.

Two friends enjoying each others company

But, with that comes a cost. Whether it is birthday presents, wedding gifts, nights out, trips to the pub for a catch up, christenings, a cheeky lift, a hand moving house or a whole list of other things – we spend a lot of money as a result of being in a strong friendship.

The £142k bill for friendship

Indeed, one study estimates that the average Brit spends a whopping £142,118.40 on friendship over their lifetime, enough money to buy a house.

The research, from Amigo Loans, discovered:

  • We attend an average of seven ‘life events’ a year (such as birthday parties, leaving dos and weddings) – costing more than £1,100
  • The average person loans almost £400 a year to friends – and some of this doesn’t get paid back
  • Every month, we spend an average of £68.25 socialising with friends – whether that’s having drinks, going for a coffee, out at the cinema or just having a night in with a takeaway
  • As well as money, we loan things such as tools, clothes and DVDs to friends
  • Men tend to spend more than women – lending their friends more than women do every month and spending almost £200 a year more on socialising.

Twenty pound note and pound coins

In total, friendship is said to cost the average Brit £2,368.64 each year.

Why your friends are good for you

Whatever your budget, that probably sounds like a lot of money. But, do you know what, a good friend is definitely worth it.

Yes, you might spend a fair bit of money with your mates but friendship has a whole host of benefits. Consider the following:

  • Friends can help you to live longer. Yes, really. A university study concluded that people aged over 70 who have an extensive network of friends tend to live 22 per cent longer than those with fewer friends.
  • Friends improve your mental health. The stresses and strains that work and relationships place on us can be tough to overcome without a support network. Friends give us someone to turn to when times are tough.
  • Friends can make you healthier. Yang Claire Yang, a sociologist at the University of North Carolina, worked with colleagues to look at the blood pressure, body mass index and waist measurements of thousands of people – and found that people with stronger ‘social ties’ were healthier. Conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes were shown to be more common among people with fewer friends.

Friendship: Worth any cost you pay

So, our friends can be ‘expensive’ – causing us to fork out an awful lot of money across our lifetime. Yet, that ‘investment’ has a huge benefit on the quality of live we lead – physically and mentally.

So, while we might have a grumble and groan about that tenner we’ve lent to a mate who forgot his wallet or that friend who never gave back that jacket you let them ‘borrow’, the long term benefits are sure to outweigh this – especially when it comes to the closest friends who stay with you throughout all of the big moments in your life.

What do you think? Are your friends ‘worth’ the money you spend on them? Are you always the one who seems to lose out when it comes to lending money to your mates? What does friendship mean to you – and how do you measure what you get out of it?

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