People are asking Google questions about friendships, dating and parenting after the pandemic
62% of UK adults do not regularly talk to another person about their questions or doubts about friendships, family, relationships and work, according to new research data from Google and YouGov. 31% said they felt more comfortable checking Google before talking to another person, with nearly two-thirds (64%) of the nation viewing Google as a safe space where they can ask questions without judgment .
Post-pandemic, 50% of UK adults admit they are putting their interpersonal relationships under the microscope as we return to ‘normal’ society, with a surprising focus on friendships in particular. We think most of the changes we face in friendships (56%), followed by career choices (49%), family (44%) and romantic relationships (23%). Trending searches for “how do I meet new friends?” and “Is it okay to split the bill on a date?” are at an all-time high. Despite this, a further 40% want to be able to have more open discussions, including about family life (34%) and relationships (33%). %).
Google’s “ItsOKToAsk” campaign highlights the power of asking questions as a way to learn more and connect with those around us. Commenting on the research findings, Emma Gannon says: “Research shows that we want to change our lives, improve ourselves, do better and learn more, however, setting limits and changing is not easy. I’m very honest with my friends, but there are some topics that I would definitely prefer on Google initially. Even though we absolutely have to ask ourselves for help, sometimes it can be easier to sit down with the problem on our own first. It’s interesting to see people using Google as a starting point for conversations about parenthood. Personally, I’ve always known that having kids of my own isn’t the path I want to take, and I feel empowered having found a strong online community that’s childless by choice that reflects how I want to live my life. I feel less alone when I talk to other women who are childless, some of whom are all over the world, and I am grateful that Google search enables this connection”.
As our calendars fill up again, who we make time for in our social circle has become of paramount importance. YouGov reports that 44% of UK adults are actively looking to make new friends and 28% ask questions about “how to reconnect with a friend or family member” on Google. And, together with research for “is it okay to cancel plans with friends?”, it shows that 46% of UK adults want to end negative or unnecessary friendships and that almost half of people (42% ) are looking to set more limits on how they spend their time, according to YouGov.
Many of us evaluate existing networks. According to YouGov, one in 10 British adults ask questions about “how to create a more ethnically or sexually diverse friendship group”, with the same number asking about the gender of their friends, for example if they are ” okay to only have men or girlfriends.
British adults are also examining conventions within their traditional social circles, with Google searches culminating in “is it okay to have a male friend when married?” and “can I lend money to a friend?”.
Here are some other key questions about Google Search trends over the past 12 months:
- “how can i make friends?”
- “Is it normal to be jealous of your friends?”
- “is it normal to argue with friends?”
- “Is it normal not to have friends?”
With IRL dating back on the cards, UK adults are unafraid to stray from the conventions of dating etiquette in 2022, and many are revisiting debates that were previously not on their minds – like footing the bill (a breakout search over the past year.) Trending searches revealed, “is it okay to date two guys at the same time?” which skyrocketed, alongside “Is it normal to want an open relationship?” For 25-34 year olds, one in ten (13%) is considering starting a romantic relationship with a longtime friend.
UK adults are also turning to Google to navigate more practical questions after two years of bouncing between lockdowns. Common searches include, “Can I go on a first date without makeup?” as well as “how soon after a date should I text?” and even “should I buy flowers for a first date?”
For 31% of respondents aged 45-54 looking for a fresh start after a relationship, the correlation of Google searches for “should I break up with my partner?” and “when should I date again after a breakup?” peaked at the start of the year.
But, while some may be reentering the dating world, many are happy to spend time alone, with searches for “is it okay to be single?” on the rise, and others are reconsidering what means being in a relationship, with trending searches showing a shift towards polyamorous relationships: “how to tell my boyfriend I’m polyamorous” and “how to meet polyamorous couples” have increased over the past year.
Other trending questions on Google search include:
- “Is it okay to have sex on a first date?”
- “Is it good for a woman to be taller than a man?”
- “Is it okay to kiss a girl on a first date?”
- “Is it okay to split the bill on a date?”
People are wondering what parenthood looks like on the eve of 2022, with an increase in searches for “how do you know if you want kids?” and “Is it okay not to want children?” over the past year.
We also rely on Google Search to reassure us that we are a good parent. Trending questions about “how to be the best dad” (up 354%) and “how to be the best mom” (up 258%) have increased over the past year. Navigating parenthood and office life is, especially for women, something people turn to Google for, along with “how to balance being a mom and working” and “how to work full time and be a single mom.” .
research in small groups during the year. Research around parental guilt is also plentiful, including “I always doubt my parenting abilities,” “How to deal with guilt from parents who keep their grandchildren away,” and “Why do I feel mom’s guilt for have denounced my children? » peak in the last 12 months.
Other topical parenting issues, past 12 months, UK
- “what does gentle parenting mean?”
- “What is Corporate Parenting?”
- “How Does Society Affect Children’s Education?”
- “How Does ADHD Affect Parenthood?”
23% of UK adults are looking to make big lifestyle changes when it comes to their work-life balance, with YouGov reporting that more than 1 in 10 (16%) turn to Google or another search engine first research with questions about how to approach this area of their life instead of asking friends, family or a colleague.
When career conventions are challenged, the correlation of Google Trends data shows growing popularity for those seeking creative vocations, with searches for “director’s course”, “interior design apprenticeship” and djing lesson.
Popular searches for creative industry courses, last 12 months, UK
- “sign language course”
- “online food photography course”
- “jewelry making courses uk”
- “online engraving course”
We also have a busy mind, with research on how we can diversify our income, for example, “how to earn extra money from home”. We are also looking for flexible careers, with an increase in searches for “work from home” and “flexible work from home”.
More than ever, women are also looking to help each other in the workplace. Interest in female mentoring in Google search has increased by +130% over the past 12 months in the UK – the European country that has searched the topic the most this time around. Peer mentoring for women was also up, with a spike of +250% in the UK in the last 12 months compared to the previous 12 months.
Commenting on the research, Marcus Rashford, who led the campaign, says: “The only way to really educate ourselves is to ask questions. Sometimes uncomfortable questions. This is where Google continues to play a huge role. Educate and inform us in a safe, non-judgmental environment and allow us to better understand ourselves. I’m happy to lend my voice to Google’s campaign, encouraging people to be curious, because it’s being curious and educating ourselves about cultural differences that will ultimately fight discrimination. »
Google Search organizes the world’s information and makes it universally accessible, allowing users to discover useful information on any topic. The goal of Google’s “ItsOKToAsk” campaign is to encourage people to step out of their comfort zone and ask people the questions that will bring us together.