The Family Circle Survey: Girlfriends

Here’s what more than 1,000 of you told us about who your besties are, why you’ve lost touch with some BFFs and whether or not you think you’re a good friend. 


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Girlfriends Survey: Strength in Numbers

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Strength in Numbers

We all need at least one friend who really gets us. Someone with whom we can just be ourselves. So it's no surprise that only 4% of you said you had no one to fill that role. Many of you have enough close friends to fill an SUV—and drive to a spa getaway.

52% of women said they had between three and five friends.

19% of women said they had six or more.

Family Ties

The majority of you said you’ve got a BFF within yelling distance. (An affectionate yell, of course.)

51% said your husband or significant other is one of your best friends.

22% said it’s your sister.

10% said it’s your mom. (Sorry, Dad. Only 1% claimed you.)

8% said your daughter is one of your besties. (Only 4% said son.)

How to Find Your Tribe

Seventy percent of respondents admitted they “often” or “once in a while” feel lonely because they don’t have the right kinds of friends. To seek out better bonds: 

Follow your passions. “Take a Spin class, go to a wine tasting or start a neighborhood book club,” suggests Debba Haupert, founder of Girlfriendology.com. When you change your routine to incorporate activities you’re interested in, you’ll widen your circle. Not sure where to find events? There’s a group for virtually everything: A social networking site like Meetup.com can pair you with people who share your interests—or you may even discover a new hobby along the way. 

Take a few risks. Sometimes you have to get out of your comfort zone to start a friendship, explains Carlin Flora, author of Friendfluence:
The Surprising Ways Friends Make Us Who We Are. Make the first move by asking coworkers to grab coffee or see a movie.

Get closer to those you barely know. Are there acquaintances through family, friends or work that you’d like to know better? Take those relationships to the next level. You might find out they’re just as interested in getting closer to you too. —SK 

Barriers to Bonds

"I don't have enough time"is what almost 40% of you said was the single greatest obstacle to making friends as an adult. What else gets in the way?

17% said you lack self-confidence.
13% blamed your living situation.
11% said you weren’t looking for more friends.
5% cited a history of being rejected.


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Girlfriends Survey: Call Me?

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Call Me?

All friendships need to be nurtured but, surprisingly, your phone isn’t the top way you keep in touch. You’re most likely to meet up in person.

36% said you get together with friends one or more times a week.

1 in 5  touch base via social media four or more times a day. 

1 in 4 are texting multiple times a day. 

Almost 75% of you told us you Skype or Facetime with friends a few times a year.


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Girlfriends Survey: Out of Sight

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Out of Sight, Not Out of Mind

About a third of you would like to reconnect with a long-lost friend. Here's how. 

If you’ve had a falling out... Apologize as soon as possible and don’t be too big to forgive. (No relationship is perfect, after all.) If she’s still stewing after you’ve tried, just give her time to get over the hurt, suggests Cherie Burbach, author of 100 Simple Ways to Have More Friends.

When you've moved away... Invite your old friends to visit your new digs, offer to meet halfway or, better yet, plan a girlfriends getaway.

If you never liked her partner... She’s the one who chose him, but it's time for you to do some soul searching. Ask yourself if you gave her partner a fair chance—and if the breakup was worth it. If not, reach out.

When you haven’t spoken in years... Don’t hesitate to get in touch. Tell her: “I’ve been thinking about you and feel sad we’ve lost touch,” says Andrea Bonior, PhD, author of The Friendship Fix. “How about catching  up over coffee ora phone call next week?” But temper your expectations. You may no longer have anything in common except the past. Or it may feel like no time has passed at all. —IL 

Breaking Up is Hard to Do

40%of failed friendships end unceremoniously: You simply drift apart and grow in different directions. But other times, misunderstandings, disappointments or betrayals put the kibosh on a friendship. 

“She was basically treating me like a drive-up mental health clinic. She assumed I would be available 24/7 for support regardless of my own situation.” 

“Very Victorian. A swirl of misinformation on both sides permanently changed our mutual level of trust.”

“She hooked up with my ex and lied about it.” 

“She became my boss.” 

“I called her on her BS.” 


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Girlfriends Survey: Secrets

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Keeping Secrets

Should best friends be able to tell each other anything? Really— anything? About 40% of you are open books with your BFFs. Even though sharing some secrets can be a recipe for disaster...

70% would fess up if a friend’s children drove them crazy.

82% would tell a friend she is too needy.

91% would tell a friend her partner or spouse cheated on her.

8% of respondents admitted they deserved an F when it came to friendship. Here’s why:

“I’m totally there in a crisis, but I’m just not thoughtful enough.”

“I hate talking on the phone.”

“I’m socially awkward and too much of a recluse.” 


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Girlfriends Survey: Above and Beyond

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Above and Beyond

How far would you go to help a friend? Meet three women who showed a bestie that their love had no limits. 

“She donated an organ.” Mindy Craft, 48, and Karen Ciolek, 40 OLMSTED FALLS, OH

“Karen and I worked together for years and I always knew I could depend on her. But I never imagined my life would end up in her hands. Then, in September 2015, I got liver cancer and needed a transplant. When Karen told me she was a match and wanted to donate hers, it meant everything to me! In that moment, this struggle in the dark was lifted and there was a light at the end of the tunnel. We share a bond that can never be broken.”

“She helped launch my business.” Georgene Huang, 36, and Romy Newman, 40 NEW YORK, NY

“I was pregnant when I got laid off from the company Romy and I worked at together. As I was looking for a new gig, I realized it was difficult to find out how prospective companies treated working moms without revealing I was pregnant. That’s when I got the idea for Fairygodboss, a website that reviews companies for working moms. A few months later, Romy joined. She was ready for a change but also wanted to support me. I couldn’t pay her, but she still devoted days, nights and weekends to it. Without her tireless support, the company wouldn't have grown to reach more than 300,000 women last year.”

“She’s biking across the country in my honor.” Laura Provost, 51, and Hong Tang, 47 ANNAPOLIS AND GAITHERSBURG, MD

“I cried when Hong told me she was doing the Coast 2 Coast 4 Cancer Ride benefiting Stand Up To Cancer and that I was her honorary recipient. There are so many people she could've chosen to bike from Oregon to New Jersey on behalf of, but she picked me. For nearly 20 years, she's been there for me. We share a once-in-a-lifetime bond.”  

—Mallory Creveling