And in the two weeks before the research was carried out – 19% of respondents said they rarely or never experienced feeling loved.
The poll of more than 5,000 people by relationship support organisation Relate provides a snapshot of various areas of people’s lives – from couple and family life, to sex, friendships, and interactions with colleagues and bosses.
Relate said that although the vast majority of people have at least one close friend, it is significant that a “concerning” one in 10 does not.
Men and women also describe their relationships differently – 81% of women describe their friendships as good or very good compared with 73% of men.
Women also report that their friendships improve with age, whereas for men this remains static throughout life.
Ruth Sutherland, chief executive of Relate, said: “This new study examines the quality of our relationships, showing a clear link between our personal relationships and our well-being. Whilst there is much to celebrate, the results around how close we feel to others are very concerning.
“There is a significant minority of people who claim to have no close friends, or who never or rarely feel loved – something which is unimaginable to many of us.
“Relationships are the asset which can get us through good times and bad, and it is worrying to think that there are people who feel they have no-one they can turn to during life’s challenges. We know that strong relationships are vital for both individuals and society as a whole, so investing in them is crucial.”
The study also found a clear link between high-quality relationships and high levels of well-being.
But simply being in a relationship does not guarantee that people will feel good about themselves – single people feel better about themselves than those in average, bad or very bad relationships, suggesting it is the quality of the relationship that has an impact on well-being and happiness, Relate said.