Friends online, but can they help in a crisis?

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Young Britons have an average 237 facebook friends but nearly two out of three people say they could only turn to two friends at most for support in a crisis, according to a new poll by Macmillan Cancer Support for Cancer Talk Week, which begins on Monday, January 23

A poll of 1,000 people aged 18-35 reveals that one in eight surveyed couldn’t even turn to one single friend for support when faced with a serious problem.

Men were more likely than women to have no-one to turn to. This is despite the ‘boom’ of social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter in recent years.

The poll also shows that social networking sites have also sometimes had a negative impact on friendships, as one in six of those who use these sites say they see or talk to their friends less often.

Jeannie Wilkinson, a Macmillan-funded Relate counsellor, said: “It is surprising and concerning that people confide in such a small number of friends and family – and more so that others may not confide in anyone.

“It is important that, when going through something tough, like a cancer diagnosis and treatment, you can speak openly about what you’re going through to ensure you get the right support you need.

“We meet a lot of patients and people caring for someone with cancer who feel like they need to be ‘strong’ and bottle up their emotions. This causes great strain on relationships.

‘If anyone does want to talk to someone impartial or wants advice on how to talk to their friends and family, the Macmillan team can always help.”

Cancer Talk Week is encouraging people to talk about cancer. Macmillan Cancer Support can help you with those difficult conversations, call free on 0808 808 00 00 or visit .