Women make better friends than men
If you thought that female bonding is ephemeral, often suffering from bouts of jealousy, backstabbing and nasty catfights, think again.
A new research has revealed that women tend to form deep and lasting friendships while men are more likely to make fickle friends over a pint or game of squash.
The research suggests that people are more likely to socialise with their own gender
Members of the fairer sex make "deeper and more moral" friends and then stick with them through thick and thin.
By contrast, sociologists from the University of Manchester found that men tend to be more calculating about who they befriend, and are likely to base these relationships on social drinking.
The four-year study tracked the lives of 11,000 men and women between 1992 and 2002. Each of those taking part in the British Household panel Surveys regularly filled in questionnaires about the state of their friendships.
Dr Gindo Tampubolon, from the university's School of Social Sciences, said his team had wanted to learn whether the nature of friendship had changed in recent years as technology had advanced.
One of his conclusions is that, in general, it has not. Indeed, in some situations mobile phones and computers had actually enhanced friendships.
"In years gone by people might have written a friend a letter, then waited for a reply. Now they can call them, visit them, email them, talk to them on MSN and swap photographs over the internet," he said.
Dr Tampubolen's research suggests that people are much more likely to socialise with those of their own gender - 75 per cent of best friends in the survey were of the same sex.
But he went on: "Friendship between women seems to be fundamentally different to friendship between men. It is much deeper and more moral. It is about the relationship itself rather than what they can get out of it.
"Women tend to keep their friends through thick and thin across geography and social mobility, and their view of friendship has something to do with how they express themselves and form their identity.
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