Friendship plays a major role in promoting satisfaction and happiness in life. Gender is influential in this scenario. Young gays have more female friends than young heterosexual men in terms of the number of female friends they can talk about their sex life with and who they can count on to celebrate their birthday with.
This may be partly due to the fact that women are less likely to have prejudice against gay men, the study said. However, heterosexual men have more male friends than gay men, revealed the survey of more than 25,000 US adults.
The study that appeared in the journal PLOS ONE
showed that gay men, lesbians, and bisexual men and women (collectively known as GLB) have similar number of total friends as heterosexual men and women.
"The role of friendship for gay men, lesbians, and especially bisexual men and women has been understudied," said one of the study authors David Frederick, assistant professor of psychology at Chapman University.
The 25,185 participants who were surveyed consisted of 11,924 heterosexual men, 387 bisexual men, 343 gay men, 220 lesbian women, 511 bisexual women, and 11,800 heterosexual women. The average age of participants was 42.
The study examined whether the quality and/or quantity of close friendships are more strongly linked to overall life satisfaction for GLB groups than for heterosexuals.
The results showed that friendship satisfaction and job satisfaction were the two strongest predictors of life satisfaction, as opposed to the number of friends. This was true for all groups.
"Our study supports the idea that friendships satisfy many important needs in our lives," Frederick said.
The study, however, found that people tend to have fewer friends as they get older, suggesting the importance of encouraging ways for older men and women to make friends.