Asymmetries in the Friendship Preferences and Social Styles of Men and Women

Hum Nat. 2007 Jun;18(2):143-61. doi: 10.1007/s12110-007-9003-3.


Several hypotheses on the form and function of sex differences in social behaviors were tested. The results suggest that friendship preferences in both sexes can be understood in terms of perceived reciprocity potential-capacity and willingness to engage in a mutually beneficial relationship. Divergent social styles may in turn reflect trade-offs between behaviors selected to maintain large, functional coalitions in men and intimate, secure relationships in women. The findings are interpreted from a broad socio-relational framework of the types of behaviors that facilitate selective advertisement and investment of reciprocity potential across individuals and within groups of men and women.

Keywords: Evolution; Friendships; Reciprocal altruism; Sex differences; Social behaviors.