Young Britons have an average of 237 facebook friends but nearly two out of three people (61%) say they could only turn to two friends at most for support in a crisis, according to a new poll by Macmillan Cancer Support for Cancer Talk Week (23-29 January 2012).
A poll of 1,000 people, age 18-35, reveals that one in eight (13%) surveyed couldn’t even turn to one single friend for support when faced with a serious problem. Men were more likely (16%) than women (12%) to have no-one to turn to.
That’s a really scary prospect. Even those of us who are perfectly happy with our solitary lives, when things are going okay, can be hit for six when something goes wrong and there’s no-one we can turn to. Worst of all is the not knowing, and it really, really helps to have good friends around to talk through the fears and worries, lend a hand if they can, give us a cheering boost when we most need it.
Jeannie Wilkinson, a Macmillan-funded Relate counsellor, says:
“It is surprising and concerning that people confide in such a small number of friends and family – and more so that others may not confide in anyone. It is important that, when going through something tough, like a cancer diagnosis and treatment, you can speak openly about what you’re going through to ensure you get the right support you need. We meet a lot of patients and people caring for someone with cancer who feel like they need to be ‘strong’ and bottle up their emotions. This causes great strain on relationships.”
For some, however, there will be friends waiting to help, but we just don’t realise. So many Brits ‘don’t want to make a fuss’, or feel ‘it’s not fair to burden anyone with my troubles’. But it’s okay to ask for help – there are lots and lots of organisations, big and small, who exist purely to offer help. That’s what they’re there for. They want to hear from anyone in need – that’s not just their job, it’s their purpose in life.
Don’t feel alone when you’re facing a mountainous problem – you have more friends than you know. As a wise man once said: ‘Ask, and it shall be given.’