According to new research, 98% of Irish people think that meeting up with friends is good for their overall health and when times are tough, a third of people (33%) feel talking things through with a close friend is the best way for them to de-stress.

Almost two thirds of those surveyed (60%) blame being busy with work and family life as the main reasons for missing out on important quality time with friends, while 80% of people would like to see their friends and family more often

The research, commissioned by Bord Gáis Energy to mark the launch of Ireland’s Great Get Together – a new fundraising initiative from Focus Ireland – also reveals that one in three people (33%) see their friends and family once a week, but 40% would prefer to see family members (that they don’t currently live with) every day.

When it comes to de-stressing from daily life, the study shows that talking things through with a friend was people’s most popular choice (33%) followed by going for a walk (28%) and talking to a family member (20%).

The research findings suggest that the simple things in life are what matter the most, with over 60% of people choosing a cup of tea and a chat as their ideal get together, ahead of a trip to the cinema (28%) or going to a concert (19%).

Having a get together at home (35%) came in amongst the top favourite places people like to meet up with friends, closely followed by a coffee shop (32%).

When asked what makes a get together great, over three quarters of respondents (78%) claim the company mattered most, followed by the conversation (12%).