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What’s the Peak Age for Friendship?

By Ashley Hume
Posted On Apr 10, 2016
What’s the Peak Age for Friendship?

What’s the Peak Age for Friendship?

Before the advent of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and SnapChat, there was the phone call. If you hit a major milestone in life, like getting engaged or finding out you were pregnant, you called your friends. If you scored a couple of last minute tickets to a concert, you ran through your speed dial list to see who was available to join you.

While social media has greatly changed the way we interact with our friends and acquaintances, communication by phone remains a very important part of human interaction. Surprisingly, phone calls, or at least their frequency as we age, also reveal a lot about friendship itself, according to a new study by a group of UK researchers. They analyzed the cell phone communications of 3.2 million European users, focusing on calling patterns between people of known age and gender in 2007.

Using this data, they were able to determine at what point in your life you can expect to have the most friends and when you can expect your acquaintance number to drop. In general, they found that as we get older, our social circles widen and contract, ultimately leaving us with a small crowd of close friends in middle age.

25 years old is the peak age for friendship, according to the study. Those in their mid-twenties communicate via phone with others more than any other age group and maintain frequent contact with an average of 15 acquaintances monthly.

But it’s pretty much all downhill from there. Expect your quantity of friends to decrease steadily over the next 20 years before hitting a decade-long plateau at the age of 45. After you reach 55, the number of your connections will drop again.

Gender also plays a role. While the study found that both men and women reach their peak number of contacts at 25, men had an overall higher number of acquaintances. However, their drop-off occurs at a much faster rate than that of women, up to the age of 45. After reaching 39, women tend to maintain a larger circle of friends than men.

Friendship is an undeniable cornerstone of our society. At whatever stage of life you are in and no matter your gender, it’s a good idea to always focus on developing and strengthening the bonds with those closest to you.