A new Confused.com report, entitled ‘Friendships, Finance and the Future: The rise of Singledom in the UK’, has revealed that almost three quarters* (72%) of singles have friends who will be friends for life, and four in five say that friendships last longer than romantic relationships. Men in particular are saying no to marriage. Just three in ten single men think they will ever get married, and 48% think single people are more fun.
This new report also identifies a new demographic in UK society: FLAPers (Financially Liberated and Positively Single). This is a new breed of single people who are turning the tables on the stereotype of the sad singleton and embracing the adventure and spontaneity. Like the flappers of the 1920s, who threw away their corsets and sought independent lifestyles, these FLAPers are celebrating a new era of positivity and empowerment in the wake of troubled times.
Experts at Future Poll, the research division of The Future Laboratory, predict that the future could see friendships among single people recognised as relationships that work while marriage increasingly fails. Laws will protect best friends and single people might formalise their friendships by entering into ‘mate-trimony’ agreements with their best friends. Relationship status on passports and census forms could include ‘mate-trimony’ as an option, next of kin will automatically be friends, and more and more singles will protect their friendships with life insurance – 59% of singles would consider insuring the life of a friend if they bought a house together.
As people stay single for longer, they are realising how much they rely on their friends for the things traditionally provided by a partner. Friends offer a shoulder to cry on: 45% of singles turn to their friends first for emotional support. Friends know each other inside out too: 30% of singles say the person who knows them best in life is a friend.
Singles even trust their friends, rather than family members, with their online secrets. Twice as many singles would rather have a friend see what they’ve been looking at online than a family member. 18 – 24-year-old singles would much rather that friends see their web-browsing history (62%) than family members (18%), probably because their friends would be less shocked.
The research found that 29% of single people in the UK have lent money to a friend in the last 12 months and in the West Midlands, 35% of singles have lent friends money in the last year. More than one in four single people would go to their friends first if they needed money urgently, and men (31%) are more likely to do so than women (23%).
To many single people, marriage is viewed as an old fashioned idea. 21% of single men think marriage is out-dated while 34% of single women think marriage lacks the value it once had.
Mike Hoban, Chief Marketing Officer at Confused.com said: “The need for us all to prepare for the worst, and protect our loved ones, is paramount. There is an opportunity for life assurance companies to reflect the rich diversity of our society and meet the needs of more people by making available products and services which reflect the value that people put on personal relationship outside of traditional family and marriage ties.”