US men have a larger circle of friends abroad than women according to a survey published today. The research, commissioned by new smartphone calling app FooTalk, found that men across the US know an average of 21 people living overseas, compared to women who only keep in touch with 15.
Surprisingly, it also found that men are more likely to pick up the phone for a chat. Women were found to instead rely on social media and emails to stay in touch, flipping the stereotype about women loving to spend hours chatting on the phone.
Men will also spend twice as long on the phone, with an average call time of half an hour, while women only stay on the line for 15 minutes.
The study of 500 Americans also found that over half of Americans speak to relatives or friends who living abroad via the phone, more than they do with those in the same country. Canada, the UK and Australia are the most common locations where Americans had friends and relatives living abroad.
Agony aunt and relationship psychologist, Susan Quilliam elaborates: 'The classic joke is that it's girls who are on the phone for hours. But increasingly it's guys who are becoming bigger fans of the phone conversation - particularly if they want to keep in touch with friends and family who've moved abroad.
"And they're absolutely right to want that; hearing someone's voice is a far richer experience than simply seeing words on a screen. Not only do you learn more about what the other person is thinking and feeling, but also they in turn get to learn more about you. If you talk to someone on the phone, you're fully focused on each other, minute to minute. Add that to the fact that calls are also fully and instantly responsive, immediate and interactive; and phone calls remain a great way of connecting with someone and sharing their daily life - even if they're far away."
56% of Americans make calls to 'gossip' rather than to impart big news. But a quarter of those surveyed admit they sometimes avoid talking to their friends and relatives abroad because of the high call charges, though they would reverse this decision if they could speak for free wherever they were. The hassles of alternative services, such as having to arrange a time to video or phone call that fits in around personal schedules and time differences, were big stumbling blocks for many.