Men need a regular, shared hobby to be able to maintain friendships – women just need to be able to communicate with one another.
Those are the findings of an evolutionary biologist at the University of Oxford, Dr Robin Dunbar, after he carried out a long term project observing a group of about 30 people as they grew up and became adults.
Speaking about his findings to the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Dunbar said his observations indicate that for men, maintaining a friendship requires being in close proximity and thus being able to participate in shared social functions.
For women, in contrast, maintaining a relationship required communication, constantly keeping in touch.
“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 Independent.
“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 s*x difference.” he added.
Women, Dunbar added, could thus stay close friends if one moved away, as they could communicate via phone or social media. Men, on the other hand, generally lose touch once one moves away and they aren’t in the same social circle anymore.
“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 added. “With guys, it is out of sight out of mind. They just find four more guys to go drinking with.”