It’s the most wonderful time of the year... for feigning illness

Survey suggests one in three Scots will invent minor illnesses to get out of social events this Christmas.

Survey suggests one in three Scots will invent minor illnesses to get out of social events this Christmas.

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It’s the busiest social time of the year, with many of us looking forward to catching up with family, friends and colleagues.

Or are we? For a new study by Fisherman’s Friend suggests that as many as one in three Scots (34.83%) will have no qualms about inventing or exaggerating minor ailments in order to get out of unwelcome parties and social functions this Christmas.

Indeed, as the nation heads into party season, almost half of those in the country who admitted to pulling a ‘social sickie’ in the last year (46.77%) said they had done so in order to avoid meeting up with friends, while it seems the office Christmas party is as dreaded as ever, with one in three (35.48%) social avoiders admitting to using non-existent ailments to dodge office socials.

Meanwhile, with Christmas Day and New Years’ Eve just around the corner, a fifth of those surveyed in Fisherman’s Friend’s Annual Cold & Flu Survey (22.58%) said they had lied to their own family about illness in order to duck out of a social meet up, while one in seven (14.52%) said they had done the same to get out of meeting up with a partner’s family.

Sickies aren’t just reserved for social occasions, though, with a fifth (19.35%) of those faking illness having done so to get out of a work meeting, while one in twelve (8.06%) said they had used the tactic to dodge a dreaded gym session.

The study of 2,000 UK adults also found that those in East Anglia were most likely to lie about their health, with four out of 10 (43.52%) adults in the region admitting to doing so, while respondents in Wales were the most trustworthy, with only three in 10 (28.43%) faking symptoms.

Women were most likely to lie or exaggerate symptoms with one in four (41.8%) doing so, compared with one in three (32.09%) men, although men were found to be most keen to avoid a work night out with two out of five (39.23%) using illness as an excuse, while women were most likely to avoid friends with six out of 10 (57.54%) regularly faking illness to cancel plans.

Commenting, Fisherman’s Friend spokesman Rob Metcalfe said: “It’s clear that minor ailments are the go-to excuse when the nation is less than enthusiastic about their social plans.

“What is less clear is whether colleagues and loved ones believe these claims.

“Our previous findings showed us that, despite suffering with three bouts of illness in the last year, the average Brit has taken just 1.67 days off work due to concerns over job security and letting colleagues down. Perhaps the nation is replacing work sickies with social sickies, but what is obvious is that the office party is still as dreaded as the old cliché would have us believe.”