It’s bad news for those of you over 25 as a new British study reveals that you’re past your peak of popularity.
Shortly after this age, friendship groups rapidly decline, according to researchers from Aalto and Oxford Universities.
The study, published in Royal Society Open Science journal, analyzed the cellphone patterns of three million users of known age and gender.
“The number of connections reaches a maximum at the age of 25 for both genders,” said study leader Kunal Bhattacharya. “At this age men and women are able to invest time in maintaining large social circles. This is also the time when men start looking for their romantic partners. But once people settle down in life, they withdraw from causal relationships and invest time to balance their work and family life.”
On average, we are making 15 acquaintances per month while we’re young, the study reveals. After reaching the “popularity peak,” connections decrease over the next 20 years. At the age of 45, social network numbers will plateau for a decade and then will steadily fall.
“It’s interesting young men are more connected than young women,” Bhattacharya added. “While men maintain a lot of casual relationships, women seem to be more focused on their romantic partner. After the age of 25, the social spheres of both start shrinking. This happens faster for men by such a rate that from the late 30s women become more connected.”
The expert continues: “This is when people get married, settle down and participate in parenthood. The communication patterns of women would suggest their pivotal roles as parents and grandparents.”
Yet another discovery suggests each person’s most frequent and longest calls tended to be with someone of the opposite sex of the same age, presumed to be the spouse. And on the whole, people are socializing mostly with their partners and family members, particularly in older generations.
Researchers think their study will help the construction of realistic models for societies, which may be useful to scientists and engineers for planning and development.
- By Dmitry Belyaev