It is a lonely life for some as almost one in 10 people do not have a close friend, according to a study of UK relationships.

The research, which looked at how close we feel to others, also found that one in five (19 per cent) people reported rarely or never feeling loved in the two weeks before the survey.

The poll of more than 5,000 people by relationship support organisation Relate provides a snapshot of people's lives - from couple and family life to sex, friendships and interactions with colleagues and bosses.

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Ruth Sutherland, chief executive of Relate, said of the findings: "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."