Research suggests that hanging out with friends a couple of times a week is good for your health.

“The figure of twice a week comes from our findings that this is the amount of time that you typically spend with your closest friends/family,” Dr. Robin Dunbar, professor of evolutionary psychology at the University of Oxford, told The Huffington Post in an email.

“For both sexes (no surprise) having a large, well-integrated social network has a significant impact on both physical and emotional health. People with larger and/or more integrated networks suffer less illness, recover quicker from surgery, are less likely to die — and even their children are less likely to die.”

For his research, he conducted a social experiment in which they asked five friends, all of whom are soccer fans, to complete two tasks. The first was to play a virtual soccer game with each other remotely, and then fill out a survey on how they felt about the experience. The second was to team up to play real-world soccer against another group of guys and then fill out that same survey again.

The survey results revealed that the real-world experience yielded a far stronger “bonding experience” than the virtual experience.

Dunbar told HuffPost Science that about 75 percent of women’s social network members are women, and around 75 percent of men’s are men. But the sexes differ in how this social network is organized. Men typically have four or five good friends that they hang out with, while women tend to focus on cultivating a relationship with their one BFF.

“There are qualities of friendship that we can think of as intimate, best, good and just friends,” Dunbar said in the email, “and these reflect both intimacy and frequency of contact (ranging from several times a week to once a year). In this context, we are talking about people you would willingly invest time to see and make an effort for, the people who will be the first to help you out when things are tough for you.”

How often do you see your good friends?

Share your comments below

  • I chat on the phone regularly with friends. I think it is very important to keep in touch and cement that friendship. I’m sure it is good for your health.


  • I regularly “chat” with some girls who live a long distance from where I do. One of them lives overseas. There is also one girl I worked with that a relative of mine also knows via sports interests plus a relative who also live in a country area. I son’t put photos on facebook because of photo hackers getting hold of them, making changes to them and re-posting them illegally.


  • we have lady dates when we can but it isn’t regular as we have lives and families and the times don’t always match up


  • At a stretch I would say once a fortnight, but sometimes not even then. Too many things happening for all of us and catch-ups are the things that suffer.


  • I agree. I love hanging out with my friends.


  • Can’t stay in touch face to face as much as I would like, but do telephone and talk as often as possible. When you are a carer it takes a huge chunk out of your day, but I try. I find even face to face with a check out operator that you can have a joke and laugh with helps brighten the day.


  • Really need to get in contract with some people, as need some adult company beside hubby or older children.


  • Face to face and technology based helps me keep in contact – so a good balance.


  • Not often enough, work/studies and children makes it hard


  • I agree and we should all try to make the time to do this more often


  • Totally agree with this article. It’s sad how busy we can get. I’ve no time to see my friends more often then once a fortnight, sometimes a it more often.


  • I have to agree, I’d love to make more time to socialise and feel normal again


  • I wish i had the time to see a friend at least once a fortnight.


  • I never get to see my friends as much as I’d like. Thank god for technology!

    • I agree – technology keeps me connected when geographical distance is a factor.


  • Gee. I wish I felt I had friends. I’d love to hang out with someone.


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