If you can remember watching the Jays win the World Series, that’s not saying much for your popularity.
‘Cause as it turns out, at age 25, you’re already starting to go downhill – which means those Mean Girls really did have something to fight for.
At 25 years old, people participate in the highest average number of social interactions.
Now it must be noted that the methodology is a little archaic – researchers analyzed one full year’s worth of cell phone call records for 3.2 million customers of a European telecom company to draw their conclusion. This completely overlooks the fact that people may have very fruitful text message relationships or online dating networks. Nevertheless, it does offer something interesting to consider as society grapples with the question of whether technology does more harm than good to our social lives.
“One important conclusion we can draw is that the average number of contacts is quite modest: in most cases, people focus their (phone-based) social effort each month on around 15 people,” the researchers write.
“Thus, we provide some evidence that the use of mobile phone technology does not change our social world. It also provides further indirect evidence for the fact that we use the phone to contact those who are emotionally closest to us rather than simply those who live furthest away.”
For those approaching their 30th year and all the panic it entails, rest assured that your fears about social solitude are in fact substantiated by science. Social connections tank shortly after the quarter-century mark before plateauing again between 40 and 50 years old.
“Because this age cohort is that in which ego’s children typically marry and begin to reproduce in their turn, one likely explanation for this plateau is that it reflects the fact that parents are maintaining regular interaction with their adult children at a time when some of these might otherwise be lost,” the study’s authors write.
Interestingly, women become more social than men shortly before their 40th birthday, an advantage they maintain for the rest of their lives. Or at least until the age of 95, when they are again equally popular.