Apparently this is the age when you have the most friends

Then it all starts to go downhill...

Friendship age
Friendship age
(Image credit: rex)

Then it all starts to go downhill...

How many friends do you really have? If you relied on Facebook you could claim to have as many as 600, but in real life most of us could fit all our close friends (as in the ones we speak to and socialise offline with regularly) into a small minibus.

But new evidence suggests our age and gender directly impacts the number of friends we have. A new survey conducted by Atalo and Oxford universities found there's even a specific age when our gang of buddies is at its largest.

By analyisng the phone records of 3.2 million people in Europe (a pretty large pool by all accounts) the study found that people have the most friends at the grand old age of 25. After this, we start to whittle things down a bit.

The study also indicated that gender plays a part in the number of friends we have. 'Our results indicate that these aspects of human behaviour are strongly related to age and gender' the study reads, 'such that younger individuals have more contacts and, among them, males more than females.'

After the age of 25 the number of friends we have starts to shrink. Though this is perhaps inevitable - given our late twenties is the time we begin to settle down and start families, allowing less time for group activities and sociable lolz down the pub.

Interestingly, though the number of friends we have starts to shrink after the age of 25, the number of friends we have levels out by the age of 45 (possibly when children begin to be less dependent) and actually starts to grow after that, as perhaps you might have noticed with your baby boomer parents and their wide circle of bridge buddies.

So if you're 25 and reading this, your wide set of university 'buddies for life' might actually be closer to 'buddies until we're 28 and one of us starts to get busy and phase the other one out.'

Still, there's always retirement to pick up where you left off.

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