International Friendship Day's coming up again on the 30th of July, and we at RIFT couldn't be more excited. Most countries shift the celebration to the first Sunday in August, so you'll have a bit of a run-up (or a second go!).

RIFT is in the business of building relationships, whether that's teaming up with you to tackle HMRC or spreading the love through our Refer A Friend scheme. So, in the spirit of friendship, let's crunch a few numbers and see what our mates are worth (and what they're costing us).

Do you know how much you spend on your friends?

Londoners spend an average of £192,000 over their adult lives on nights out and socialising with mates. That's impressive, but people in Bristol go even further at £199,000! Even they don't top the list, though. Leeds is the UK's biggest socialising city. People there cough up £3,500 a year, or an incredible £213,000 over their adult lives!

Friendships take time (and cash) to maintain, and more and more of us are finding both hard to come by. Millions in the UK are struggling to keep up with old mates or make new ones because they're either too busy or too skint.

In fact, 75% of us aren't getting as much time with our friends as we'd like, and over 30% are finding it tough to stay in touch at all. Here are some of the top reasons why we're drifting out of reach:

  • 33% say that work gets in the way of their friendships.
  • 25% have trouble finding the cash it takes to meet up regularly.
  • 60% say that social media means the whole idea of friendship is evolving.

That last figure's a particularly interesting one. We're all becoming more mobile each year, putting many more miles between friends who used to be closer both physically and socially. Social media means we're in touch with hundreds or thousands of people on a daily basis, but do we even really know them at all?

Do you know how long it takes to make a friend?

Quality time makes the difference between an acquaintance and a friend for life. It takes about 200 hours of good times to make a best mate, but only 50 to go from stranger to a casual friend. Taking another step up the ladder to close friend takes an average of 90 more quality hours.

So, what's the difference between a social media contact and an actual friend? Perhaps unsurprisingly, the research says the answer's old-fashioned, high-quality face-to-face time. 90% of us want to make more friends, but 6 out 10 have completely lost touch with the people we used to be closest to. The trick, it turns out, is as simple as being there for each other. According to surveys, the best tricks for cementing friendships include:

  • Going out for meals.
  • Working out or playing sports together.
  • Regular nights out.
  • Taking road trips.

Do you know what it takes to stay friends?

It takes 3 meet-ups a month to maintain a really solid friendship, but 20% of us haven't even seen our best mates in 3 months.

The most valued qualities we look for in friends are loyalty and supportiveness. It takes as long as 4 years to become a best friend, but most of us reckon we can see the potential within just a couple of hours.

One serious point about this is that a lot of people in the UK are splashing cash they can't afford to try to maintain friendships. About 20% of us are overspending so we don't look bad on nights out. Twice that many are dipping into savings to fund their social lives. A worrying 13% are knowingly and regularly  spending money they really don't have.

Of course, they say you can't count the true value of friendship in terms of money. If you were going to try, though, RIFT's Refer A Friend scheme would be a perfect place to start. You can read all about how to Refer A Friend here, but the nuts and bolts of it are simple.

  • Every time you refer someone to us who goes on to make a tax refund claim, we send you £50 as thanks.
  • Refer 5 people and we'll throw in an extra £150, for a total of £400.

Research says most people's brains can handle up to 5 “best mate” slots and 15 “good friends”. That's £1,600  in referral fees for a start! Our top referrer has already made 34 referrals (17 which have made claims and 15 which are still pending). He's earned £1,700 already this year and there's no sign he's slowing down.

Also, remember our prize draws, where you currently stand to win a whopping £1,000 worth of superb gadgets - from a Go Pro and Amazon Echo to your very own flying drone. Get your referrals in before the 30th of September for your chance to win. There are many other prizes on offer, including cash bonuses of up to £500.

To start referring all you need  is your friend's name, email and number and we'll send them an invitation to check if they qualify for a tax rebate.

RIFT are the UK's leading tax experts since 1999.  Use our tax refund calculator to find out if you're due cash back from HMRC.