What it measures
Spending time with friends is valued by people of all ages and circumstances. Not only is it usually an enjoyable experience, but friends are also a great source of social support. Many people rate time spent with friends as the most enjoyable activity of their day. These effects are especially strong for teenagers and older adults, but they are found across all sectors of the population. Trends over the past 20 years show that Canadians are spending less time with friends than they did in the past.
Why this matters
Having friends with whom you can be yourself and enjoy spending time is associated with numerous quality of life factors such as happiness, life satisfaction, feelings of belonging, and better self-esteem. Social support provided by friends can act as a buffer to stresses like illness, family issues, work problems, and other challenging circumstances.
Indicator data table
|Year||Average amount of time|
Statistics Canada General Social Survey, Time Use cycles
- Waterloo Library: Presence of a best friend buffers the effects of negative experiences
- Mayo Clinic: Friendships: Enrich your life and improve your health