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Buddying-up abroad- 70% of Brits are ‘friends’ with people in other countries

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A massive seven in ten Brits are now ‘friends’ with someone who is living outside of the UK, a survey has found. Better technologies and cheaper call have led to the average Brit having friends or relatives in three separate countries, with Australia, the USA and Canada the most common.

One in ten Brits even admit they know people in at least five different countries across the world, with more than a third of men even admitting they have friends living abroad who they speak to more than people they know in the UK.

The stats emerged in a study of 2,000 Brits commissioned by new smartphone calling app, FooTalk.

Graeme Hutchison, former sales and marketing chief and founding management team member of Virgin Mobile, who is co-founder of FooTalk, said:

”We know that people are travelling the world more than ever and international borders are no barrier to staying in touch. However soaring call rates, inaccessibility and difficulty of use of alternatives are.

”Facebook and Twitter might keep you abreast of your friends’ lives but there’s always more to be had from a conversation – even if the other person is in a different country.”

Researchers also looked at the communications habits of Brits with friends and relatives abroad, and found that 44% of Brits admit they sometimes avoid talking to their friends and relatives abroad because of the high call charges, while a further 12% hate having to arrange a time to video call or phone to fit in around personal schedules and time differences.

Social networking sites have also led to 36% of people getting back in touch with people who have moved abroad, after thinking they would never speak to them again.

Nine in ten Brits reckon it’s easier than ever to contact friends and family living abroad, with email named as the most popular way to stay in touch, followed by social networking sites and phone calls.

Text messaging, letters, video calls and instant messaging were listed as other ways to keep up with foreign friends.

Intriguingly, men are more likely than women to chat with friends over the phone or send text messages to stay in touch, but women now rely on social media and emails to update each other on what’s going on in their lives, rather than engaging in conversation.

Women make an average of just one call to friends abroad each week, lasting 22 minutes, while men will reach 40 minutes, speaking to two of their friends overseas.

Females will send just five text messages to pals abroad each week, while men send eight.

Agony aunt and relationship psychologist, Susan Quilliam said:

”The classic joke is that it’s the girls who are on the phone for hours.

”But actually now it’s guys who are becoming bigger fans of the phone conversation – particularly if they want to be in touch with friends and family who’ve moved abroad, and they’re absolutely right to want that.

“Hearing someone’s voice is a far richer experience than simply seeing words on screen. You get to not only learn more about what the other person’s thinking and feeling, but they get to learn more about you.

”Add to that the fact that calls are fully and instantly responsive, immediate and interactive. If you talk to someone on the phone, you’re fully focused on each other, minute to minute. It’s a way of connecting with someone and sharing their ordinary daily life – even if they’re far away.”