The average Brit has a social network of 180 people – but only relies on five of them, a study found.
Researchers who carried out a poll of 1,500 adults revealed partners are most likely to be in the ‘circle of trust’, along with parents and siblings.
It also emerged we turn to the trusted inner circle for help or support at least twice a month.
The study was commissioned by American Express to celebrate the launch of its new brand campaign and understand more about how the support of others can help propel you forward.
Digital entrepreneur Jamal Edwards, who is working with American Express on the launch of its new campaign, said:
Having the support of others can be instrumental to success, but it’s not always about having friends in high places.
Support can come from anywhere and more often than not it’s people you’ve known all your life.
The study also found for nearly half of Brits (47 per cent) this ‘social support network’ has become more important today than ever before.
More than a third put this down to busier lives while 28 per cent blamed an increased pressure to succeed.
According to the data, Brits believe having a support network around you is one of the most important factors to self-achievement.
Additionally, the research identified the support network is primarily made up of a ‘backer’ (64 per cent), a ‘comforter’ (62 per cent) and a ‘cheerleader’ (62 per cent).
It also consists of a ‘constructive critic’ (45 per cent) and a ‘big picture thinker’ (40 per cent).
Jamal Edwards, who is also the founder of SBTV, a British company run by a small team of young people working on web-based content, added:
I’ve relied on my parents more than anyone else.
They’ve helped back me on many occasions and given me the encouragement to get to where I am today.
For example, they bought me my first camera for Christmas when I was 15 which is when I really got into making videos and I became inseparable from the camera.
The Top 5 most popular types of people in Brits support network:
1. Backer – Someone you can count on to have your back (64 per cent)
2. Cheerleader – Someone that cheers you on and encourages you (63 per cent)
3. Comforter – Someone who will comfort if you fail (62 per cent)
4. Constructive Critic – Someone who offers constrictive criticism (45 per cent)
5. Big Picture Thinker – Someone who makes you see the bigger picture (40 per cent)
This whole study reminds me of a story from my youth. Picture the scene: it’s the turn of the millennium, sometime around Christmas.
I’m in the living room with my grandpa, Steve. At one point he comes over to me and says ‘Josh lad, get up on the sofa, turn around and let yourself fall back. I’ll catch ya.’
Expressing reserve, grandpa said, ‘Trust me!’ So I did, and ended up cracking my head on the corner of the table. An absolute bloodbath.
Grandpa Steve loomed over me and said, ‘Don’t trust any bastard.’
From then on out I have never trusted or relied on anyone. Especially when they tell me childhood anecdotes.
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