culture and human well being happiness with friends

Remember a few years ago when you have too many friends that you will get confused of being invited by them to different events; from their birthday party, housewarming party, bridal shower, or just simply a party for fun? Worry not, one of the perks of getting older is you will no longer have such a social obligation to attend every single party you are being invited to; or chances are, you will get less and less invitations.

It is indeed pretty normal. As you get older, you will be busier with your own private stuff; such as work, side job, business trip, investment, debt, preparing your wedding and future, taking care of the laundry, having a weekly grocery shopping, and other responsibilities that you have lesser time for small talks, drama, and any unnecessary conversations. Whereas, maintaining a friendship definitely requires those small things. Besides, you have less time and power to just wine and dine with friends on weekends, making it a bit more difficult to arrange appointment to maintain the friendship. As a result, only those who really care and can keep up with your busy schedule that will remain friends.

In our late 20s we have more burden on our shoulders and normally feel like we have enough on our own plate, and suddenly our life becomes less about the numbers. At first, it feels like our physical change that dictates our routines but as you slowly notice and learn, it also requires a mental processing to digest the fact that we should left behind the things that will not improve us personally. Based on the study by a group of scientists from Aalto University, Finland, after reaching the age of 25, our circle of friends will automatically shrink and women have more tendency in reducing the number of friends they have earlier than men. This is partially because women experience ‘the grandmother effect’ in which women will strengthen their bonds with the motherly figures like mother and grandmother due to the women’s need of guidance and advises in raising and nurturing children. Other reasons we tend to decrease our circle of friends are the matters related to investment. Thus, even though we have less friends, but we will end up keeping those who worth our time and those who are important for our growth—be it personally or professionally, and a plus point if the friends can be involved in both areas.

However, although women make up their mind at a faster rate during their late 20s, the trends between men and women in losing some of their friends changes when men reach their late 30s. An evolutionary psychologist from the University of Oxford, Robin Dunbar once stated, men tend to reduce their friends by the age of 39 more than women do in this age range. Meaning that, both men and women will shrink their friendship at the end of the day and will likely to invest in those people we perceive as more valuable than the others. So, it is pretty normal if lately you receive less invitations than you did during your sophomore year. Just make sure you invest in those who can bring you more positivity!

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