Scientists say they've pinpointed the time in our lives when we start losing friends, rather than making new ones, by looking at the phone data of some 3.2 million Europeans. It looks like 25 is the watershed age for making new relationships.
While this isn't a precise measurement of friendships, it does suggest that this is the stage in life when our social circles are at their largest, say researchers from the Aalto University School of Science in Finland and the University of Oxford in the UK.
From then on, we start losing contact with people, as children and careers start to put pressure on our time. We begin dropping friends for the rest of our lives, although there is a small plateau at the age of 45 to 55 years old.
Interestingly, at younger ages, men have more friends than women, but from the age of 39 upwards, that trend is reversed.
The researchers suggest that it's possible that women may interact with their own close family members more than men do, for the purposes of things like keeping other family members updated on children's activities.
The research serves as a reminder that all the modern tech we use to keep in touch with our friends and family has another. It's giving researchers a vast treasure trove of data to study. Females tend to have a close-knit pack of girlfriends, whereas males have a gang of guys to hang out with.
The researchers say the differences between cultures will probably lie in the timing of peaks and transitions, rather than in the overall patterns themselves.