Having a holiday away with a friend can help to make your relationship stronger, proving the old adage that absence makes the heart grow fonder, according to new research released by Thomas Cook.
More than 30 per cent of respondents say a break with a close friend helped make a relationship stronger or even saved their marriage, and 40 per cent of us miss our other half while we're away. The research, conducted among 2,000 Brits* and released on International Friendship Day, also shows that nearly half of us take at least one break away with our friends (42 per cent) either abroad or in the UK every year.
Futurologist William Higham, from Next Big Thing who worked on the research with Thomas Cook, explains how the occasional escape with friends can help our relationships:
"The more complicated our lives get, the more we focus on "who we are" and the more we compartmentalise our lives, the greater number of different friendship groups we have. The more this happens, the less our partners are able to fulfil all our needs: and the more we feel trapped unless we have occasional time (e.g. on holiday) when we can indulge this or that side of our personality." Furthermore, William predicts that the 'framily' spirit will continue to see the number of trips we take with our friends rise even further.
"We believe that the rise in holidays with friends is being driven by another trend; the increasing importance of friendship. Today, more and more people have a close group of friends that they consider to be a surrogate family: a 'Framily'.
"The emotional support of friends typically becomes more important in times of either economic downturn or rapid social and political change: consumers are scared of what is to come and seek the support of community. Both of these factors are taking place at the moment, making it doubly important.
"Meanwhile, consumers' loss of trust in major institutions (from banks to governments), their inability to influence events (economic, social and political), and the increasing dominance of technology in their lives is making them care more about those things which are tangible, trustworthy and human, such as interaction with friends."
It's not all good news for couples though, as 23 per cent admit they get up to no good while on their break, 40 per cent of which admit they cheat on their partner. The two naughtiest age groups are, expectedly, the 18-24-year-olds (34 per cent) and surprisingly, the 35-44 year olds (27 per cent). Other activities respondents didn't want to share with their partners are: being too drunk (40 per cent), nudity-related pursuits (29 per cent) and spending way too much while they're there (14 per cent).
However, more than two-thirds of those questioned would at least share with their other half an edited version of events.
The most popular holiday with friends is a city sightseeing break (17 per cent) or a relax on the beach (15 per cent), with an average annual spend of £307 for those in a couple and £560 for singles. The average annual spend for holidays with a partner and excluding the kids is £938.
"As the results of this survey show, the popularity of friendship breaks alongside more traditional family and couples holidays is set to rise even further."