How work colleagues are our closest friends because we are too busy to keep in touch with old mates
12:13 GMT, 9 August 2012
The workplace has overtaken school, university, and family as the most likely place to make friends.
For many, their colleagues have become their best friends because they rarely have time to socialise outside of work, a new study found.
However, bonds made at school are still most likely to last a lifetime, the survey by phone network 02 revealed.
Mixing work and pleasure: The workplace is where we now make the most friends because we spend so much time there, like the characters in Mad Men who work at an advertising agency
Their poll found a third of adults (31 per cent), make most of their 'good friends' at work, a quarter (23 per cent), at school and 17 per cent through other friends.
Slightly over one in ten say their friendship group consists mainly of friends met at university and 4 per cent while on holiday.
Brits now have such little time to spend on hobbies after work that just three in 100 friends are now forged through sport, music and the arts.
Although workmates now account for the largest number of friends, our best friend is still most likely to have been somebody we met at school.
A third of adults met their best buddy when they shared a classroom as school pupils.
This is followed by work (27 per cent), through other friends, (11 per cent), and university (10 per cent), the poll of 2,012 people found.
Just 1 per cent met friends while house sharing.
Among men and women aged over 50, friendships made at school still account for one in six of their social circle, indicating these friendships do last a lifetime.
Friends for life: Our best friend is still most likely to have been somebody we met at school, like the characters in the Inbetweeners
Business consultant Joseph Hodges, 32, from Southampton, Hants, is one of those who now relies on his workmates for most of his social life.
He said: 'I find myself working long hours, which often leaves little time to do anything interesting when I get home.
'I’d like to join a football team and
play guitar in a band and make mates that way but I’m just too busy
meeting my boss’s demands.
'Instead, I find myself going to the pub
with workmates in the week and sometimes even going out with them for a
meal at weekends too.
'I am still in touch with a few people
from school or university but not that many as I lost touch with most as
I got wrapped up in my career.
'However, my best friend is still a mate I made at school and I regularly see him for a beer or two.'
O2 commissioned the study to mark the launch of the new Samsung Galaxy S111 phone.
David Johnson, from O2, said: 'We are bound to make a large number of friends at work because we now spend a lot of our time there.
'It means we get to know our colleagues as well as – and in some cases better than – friends made in other parts of our lives.
'People share mobile phone numbers with work colleagues and this contributes to the sense of closeness as they are also used for personal banter.
'That helps forge friendlier relationships. However, although work may be where we have the largest number of friends, the playground is still where we make those we feel closest to.
'Indeed, many still have daily contact with an old school friend. And even those who now live a long way away from each other can stay in close contact with social networking, text messages and email.
'Technology has become a vital way to keep friendships close over the years.'