The value of friendships: Put those icks aside and let your friendships blossom

When it comes to your friendship groups, these relationships need to be nurtured just as much as romantic ones. You never know, they could even last longer. Therefore, understanding how to navigate platonic relationships is just as important.

Searches for ‘friendship ick’ have increased by 33% in the last 12 months. So, are you letting icks get in the way of your friendships? Or are your bonds too strong to let anything get in the way and break up the gang?

We carried out a survey to find out what the most common friendship icks are in the UK. And it turns out, we really do love our friends.

Bingo besties are here to stay

According to our survey, over one fifth of Brits (21.5%) don’t have a top ‘friendship ick’ at all. At Mecca Bingo, we love to see bingo besties from different walks of life that are close friends. Our survey participants have shown that they are open-minded and accepting, and don’t place too much importance on supposed icks. And that’s what being close friends is all about.

So, let’s take a look at those that did have top friendship icks.

The top 10 UK friendship icks:

  1. Being late – 10%
  2. Being rude to others – 10%
  3. Talking about themselves too much – 8%
  4. Regularly cancelling on plans – 7%
  5. Constantly putting you down – 6%
  6. Bragging – 6%
  7. Trying to flirt with your partner – 5%
  8. Slow replies – 5%
  9. Demanding a lot of your attention – 3%
  10. Bad table manners – 3%

Friends prioritise respect

The top two friendship icks – both with 10% of the vote – are being late and being rude to others. This shows the importance that we place on shared values of mutual respect and kindness. They’re crucial to maintain healthy friendships.

We need positive social boundaries in place

With 5% of people getting the ick about their friends “trying to flirt with their partner” and 5% being turned off by “slow replies”, it illustrates the importance of healthy social boundaries. For a friendship to thrive, there needs to be respect for personal relationships outside the group. Just because you have a partner or other friends, it doesn’t mean you don’t still love your besties.

It’s super important to understand different personalities

Icks like “talking too much about themselves” (8%) and “demanding a lot of your attention” (3%) showcase the need to show more respect. Listening to your friends and what they have to say helps you to learn more about them and their feelings. By understanding this, you can strengthen your friendships.

Accepting your friends’ nuances can hold the group together

As well as most people not having a friendship ick, 4% of people are alson “unsure” about the whole concept. This suggests that the idea of being put off by their friends’ behaviour doesn’t even register – we think this shows a level of acceptance that’s essential for true friendships.

Mecca Bingo spoke to Relationship Expert, Georgina Sturmer, to provide expertise around adult friendships. Here’s what she had to say:

  1. Value of friendships

“Good friendships help us to build and maintain our resilience through whatever life throws at us, whether it’s a tricky breakup, a problem at work, or a crisis of confidence.” Further emphasising that “it’s our long-term friends who can offer us a sense of feeling grounded.”

  1. Reacting to the platonic ick

Georgina highlights that “Many of us have default patterns in friendships, so if you find yourself getting the ‘ick’ often, then it might mean that you should consider your own feelings and reactions. If you’re getting the ‘ick’ but are committed to the friendship, then think about how you communicate. See if you can share how you are feeling, without coming across as insulting or confrontational. If you talk about it, then you might be able to salvage things.”

  1. Further meanings behind the ick

“The ‘ick’ could be self-sabotage. It might be a sign of an underlying fear that you have, that is triggered when a friend becomes too close, or it feels as if they are asking for more than you can give. If this resonates with you, then it might be worth thinking about this at more depth, before you find yourself pushing people away. However, ‘the ‘ick’ could also indicate a useful gut feeling. Maybe you’ve fallen in a friendship due to circumstance or convenience, and it feels as if it has run its course. Tune into what you’re feeling, and reflect on what you want and need, and whether you feel able to maintain the friendship.”

  1. Quality time is essential

Lastly, Georgina asks “When’s the last time you spent quality time with your nearest and dearest – in real life?”, adding “We live such busy, frantic lives, that sometimes it feels like we must schedule an opportunity weeks or months in advance. So, it’s important to remember that there’s nothing like quality time with people who know us, who understand us, who we can talk to, and we can laugh with. Don’t forget to get those dates in the diary to catch up, to do something fun together – maybe even head to the bingo.”

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Censuswide survey on behalf of Mecca Bingo. 1000 UK respondents (25+). 19.01.2024 – 23.01.2024.