I can’t make it this weekend…
I have to work overtime.
I’m super tired.
I just don’t have time, I’m so busy.
No, this isn’t a standoffish partner. It’s friends in general (after the age of 25, that is).
25, it seems, is our socialising crescendo. It’s the time in our lives when we’re in most regular contact with our countless, beautiful, we’re-actually-soul-sisters friends.
After 25? The friendship tree gets pruned. Big time. Fewer friends, more family time, and a withdrawal from casual friendships.
This is all according a joint study between Aalto University and the University of Oxford. The findings were revealed through the analysis of call records from three million mobile phone users in Europe.
The research looked to the differences in mobile phone usage between genders and across age groups. It attempted to ban data from business calls, so purely social behaviour could be analysed in isolation.
“Our main finding is that the maximum number of connections for both males and females occurs at the age of around 25,” the report states. “During this early phase, males appear to be more connected than females. After this, the number of [contacts] decreases steadily for both genders, although the decrease is faster for males than for females.”
“On-tabling” our issues with friends in Girls. Post continues after video…
The optimist in me was hoping the data, which was obtained in 2007, might not extend to today’s world of Facebook Messaging, Snapchat, Viber, Google Hangouts, etc.
I adopted a truly scientific method and asked around. My optimism is a fool.
If it’s not people having kids, it’s people moving away/overseas or settling down with serious relationships. The catchups start to dwindle – not because you don’t want to see each other but because it’s so hard to find a mutually convenient time – one 27-year-old explained.
Ugh it’s the worst. At around 25, some friends only organise to hang out with other couples so there are floaters (aka singles) that tend to receive fewer and fewer invites until you can’t remember the last time you hung out – a 26-year-old said.
I think it happened at 25 because that’s when I had a serious job and socialised with work colleagues more and also because I was in a serious relationship. There’s only so much time in the day and it doesn’t always work when you try and merge your work friends, boyfriend friends, original friends, etc. – a 32-year-old confirmed.
The researchers found men had more social contacts than women at age 25, and then it deteriorated for both genders. This contact with friends continues to decline for the following 20 years, until it plateaus for both men and women after 45.
Women however, do see a bit of an upturn towards their late 30s. This might be because woman are the ones holding the family together, according to lead author of the study Kunal Bhattacharya.
“After men and women partner off, they withdraw from casual relationships; it happens faster for men than it happens for women. There is a decay in the number of contacts and they steadily go down in middle age, in the 40s,” Bhattacharya told Broadly. “Then what you have are family relations: Men and women have to maintain these relations, but women play a more pivotal role in maintaining these relations in the family with their own children.”
Maybe, after reaching 25, we’re on longer enthralled in being social, simply for the sake of being social (2am drunk deep and meaningfuls anybody?). Perhaps we’re more about building meaningful, long-term friendships with the people we feel the greatest connection with.
With the people who love us for who we are and we love them right back. That can’t be so bad can it?