In UK, pubs still the place to talk

August 26th, 2010 | Posted by Real Beer

A survey commissioned by Courage Beer suggests drinkers in Britain still consider the pub the best place outside of home for conversation.

From the press release:

Fifty percent of those quizzed have made new friends by talking to people in the pub, and the pub (43%) is also the place where you are most likely to strike up a conversation with a stranger, followed by long haul flights (38%) and nightclubs (27%).

Britain as a nation of chatterboxes with the average person having 27 conversations every day, lasting an average of 10 minutes each. That adds up to a massive 4.5 hours a day or nearly 100,000 hours or 68 days – every year.

The Courage Beer Conversations survey of 3,000 British adults for Courage Beer found that Geordies are the UK’s most gregarious with the North East weighing in with an average of 33 conversations per day – closely followed by the Welsh on 32, whilst the Northern Irish are least outgoing with an average of 22 conversations every day.

However, whilst the survey illustrates our convivial nature, the survey also points to a worrying aspect of Britain’s sociability with 43% of our daily conversations deemed pointless.

Those questioned were split on whether modern technology has caused the art of conversation to wane in recent years with 52% believing people don’t talk face to face any more, whilst 48% think technology means we actually talk more, but through a different medium.

Only a third of people count the conversations they have on social networks such as Twitter and Facebook as ‘proper conversations’.

Over 63% of those asked think the younger generation has lost the art of conversation, either as a result of technology making young people lazy (30%) or making them less forthcoming when it comes to others (33%).

Other highlights of the survey include:

  • Humour and honesty were deemed the most important elements of a meaningful conversation to those questioned with a combined split of over 60% followed by ‘Getting a different point of view’ (26%) and ‘Learning new facts’ (12%).
  • Marriage & relationships (74%) head the list of conversation topics that Brits consider meaningful, closely followed by money (60%) and work/ job happiness (55%). Politics comes in fourth at 34%, followed by food & drink (27%) and religion and property prices on 22%.
  • Whilst Britain seems to a companionable nation it appears we don’t appear to be natural socialisers with 64% of Brits finding it hard to make conversations. Weekend plans are the main saviour of these faltering conversations (45%) followed by that trusty backstop, the weather (35%) and the news (30%).
  • Britain’s focus on work is reflected in the fact that we are just as likely to have a meaningful conversation on a daily basis with a friend (56%) as work colleague (57%) although reassuringly both trail behind partner or spouse on 74%.
  • Theodore Zeldin CBE, highly respected lecturer, historian, philosopher and author of ‘Conversation; How talk can change our lives’ and of An Intimate History of Humanity said “Conversation is a meeting of minds. When minds meet, they don’t just exchange facts: they transform them, reshape them, draw different implications from them, engage in new trains of thought. The pub has had a unique role in British society as the incubator of talk of many kinds. Now that technology is encouraging less face to face interaction, the pub has the opportunity to develop new forms of conversation and of social interaction.”

    Quite a bit there to talk about.

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