If you’re 29, savour this orbit around the sun — because it’s the most popular you’ll ever be.
That’s according to a new survey of 1,505 Britons. It found that 29-year-olds had an average of 80 friends, more than the 64 friends of the average person.
The Independent U.K. says that being part of multiple networks causes the popularity: You have the buddies you went to school with, as well as friendships that develop in your professional life.
The survey, conducted by a food company called Genius Gluten Free, also found that the at-work friendships were more robust than those that form in school, due to the outsized number of hours people spend at the office and the pressurised professional situations that bring people together.
This is good news for the more awkward among us. Since the 1950s, sociologists have documented that it’s hard to make friends as we get older, because we have less contact with the conditions that allow for forming close friendships: “proximity; repeated, unplanned interactions; and a setting that encourages people to let their guard down and confide in each other.”
The thing about the modern American office, however, is that we have loads of proximity and interactions, but not always the setting that allows for confidences to be exchanged — you’re not going to spill the sordid details of your weekend in the middle of your open office, right? That requires a shifting of environments, like, say, to a bar or gym down the street.
And therein lies a cultural difference hidden in this survey. In the U.K., it’s common for everybody in the office to head to the pub after work, but less so in the U.S., perhaps limiting the potential of at-work collegiality. So there’s a lesson from our friends across the pond: more happy hours.
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