Meeting up for a pint is essential for men to sustain their friendships, while for women it is ensuring they catch up often, a scientist has suggested.
Robin Dunbar, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Oxford, has followed a group of 30 people as they have transitioned from childhood to adulthood observing their social networks.
At the Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, which was held in Boston, Massachusetts over the weekend, Professor Dunbar said meeting up to go to the pub was what tended to hold male friendships together.
In contrast, for lasting female friendships it was vital that girls and women maintained their communication with each other.
“What determined whether they [friendships] survived with girls was whether they made the effort to talk more to each other on the phone,” he said according to The Times. “Talking had absolutely no effect on boys’ relationships at all. What held up their friendships was doing stuff together: going to a football match, going to the pub for a drink. It was a striking sex difference.”
Professor Dunbar’s previous research into the social habits of the genders suggested men need to see each other and do stuff to maintain both healthy lives and friendships.
“The caricature is if you move away to another town girls will be on the phone or Facebook with each other to keep the relationship going,” he said. “With guys, it is out of sight out of mind. They just find four more guys to go drinking with.”