This Is The Age At Which We Have The Most Friends
The Debrief: It's all downhill from now on, peeps
If, like me and most of The Debrief team, the number of friends you have (or rather, don’t) is a source of anxiety, there's a new study which is about to make you feel a whole lot worse about the situation. Thanks, Science.
According to a study publish in Royal Society Open Science in which research from Aalto and Oxford University analyzed the mobile phone records of 3.2 million users in Europe for one year, noting who they called, how often and for how long.
By looking at calling patterns they found that younger individuals have more ‘contacts’, and that men have more than women until they're 39 years old, at which point women have more contacts. The researchers suggested could be down to interactions with their (now adult) children and other new or close family members.
Researchers said that 'females seemed to be generally more focused in their social arrangements than males', which has been supported by other studies which found that 'women appear to have a small number of extremely close same-sex friendships, whereas males do not (they typically have a larger number of more casual same-sex friendships)'.
Crucially, the study discovered that the maximum number of ‘connections’ for men and women peaked around the age of 25 years old. In other words: the number of friends (or ‘connections’) you had at 25 is the most you will ever have and they all then steadily decrease for men and women. Meaning it’s all downhill from here. Fantastic. Excellent. Let's all just give up then now, shall we?
As well as that, from the age of 45 to 55 there appears to be a ‘plateau’ and then another decline after 55. They attributed these fingers to younger people typically being more 'socially promiscuous', but as we age, we're more likely to invest in fewer but more meaningful relationships. They also found that the average number of contacts who people 'focus their (phone-based) social effort each month' is about 15 people.
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