The Good News About Friends

Thousands of you answered our poll on friendship. Here's what you told us.
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Most LHJ readers -- 69 percent -- say they have enough friends in their lives, but another 25 percent don't and wish they did. Asked the biggest problem they face when it comes to making new friends, 39 percent of readers cite lack of time; 18 percent, lack of opportunity. "I enjoy making new friends," says Holly Browning, 29, of Columbus, Ohio, "but it's more important for me to give back to the incredible girlfriends I already have."

Girl Talk

During gabfests, 57 percent say there's no subject they can't talk about, and 65 percent say their pals tell all, too. What's off-limits? Thirty percent of women won't discuss their sex lives, and 21 percent are mum about money matters.

Is Blood Really Thicker?

For some readers, friendship begins at home: Forty percent consider their sister(s) a close friend. But for others, family bonds aren't as tight. Thirty-three percent of respondents feel closer to their friends than they do to their sisters. "My younger sister sees me more as a maternal figure she can look up to," says Laurie Sader, 35, of Bennet, Nebraska. "But with my best friend, I can be me and share all of myself."

It Takes All Kinds

Friends don't need to have everything in common. Thirty-three percent of readers say they have at least one close friend whose lifestyle differs from theirs. Another 31 percent have a friend much older than they are.

Twenty-nine percent know one friend who practices a different religion, and 17 percent have a good friend of another race. "One of my best friends is ten years older than me, and she's divorced with two children, whereas I've never been married," says Julianna Sproul, 32, of Atlanta. "What bonds us is our sense of humor and our shared interests."

Anything For a Pal

An impressive 70 percent of readers can rely on their friends to be there for them no matter what. The favors extend both ways. Eighty-seven percent would drop everything to help their best friend through a crisis; 79 percent would let her move in for an extended period. A selfless 65 percent would donate an organ or bone marrow to a sick friend. But less than a third of readers (32 percent) would tell a lie for a friend's sake.

Don't Tell Him, But . . .

Slightly more than half of readers (53 percent) consider their husband to be their best friend. But while 81 percent claim to be able to talk to their man about anything, 43 percent confess to divulging to a girlfriend some intimate matters that they've kept from their husband.

Bye, Bye, Bye

Not all friendships last forever; 70 percent of women say they've parted ways with a good pal at some point. Some outgrew each other (31 percent), but another 21 percent split over an unforgivable act.

Prime-Time Pals

Asked about the best TV or movie friends of all time, 30 percent of readers say they still love Lucy (and Ethel). Sixteen percent believe Rachel, Monica and Phoebe are the best of Friends, and 12 percent give the nod to Mary and Rhoda of The Mary Tyler Moore Show. --Shana Aborn


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