Now, this isn't my usual fare, mind...but this interested me too much to ignore. I've long been concerned that we're becoming far too isolated these days, and that our focus on computer communication is adversely impacting our health. Now, it seems, there's definitive proof that this is the case.
According to research commissioned by Guinness - one of the world's oldest, best-known beer companies - men need a minimum of two "guys nights" a week in order to maintain good physical (and emotional) health. Online meetups and hangouts aren't enough, either. Something inevitably is lost in translation; there needs to be in-person interaction in order for there to be any tangible benefits.
This? Right here? Don't do this.
The research was carried out by Professor Robin Dunbar, the Director of Oxford University's Social and Evolutionary Neuroscience Research Group. He's something of a controversial figure in the field of sociology; best known for the Dunbar Number, which posits that human beings are only capable of managing up to 150 'real' relationships. According to Dunbar, the benefits of having "guy time" include faster recovery time when faced with illness, higher levels of generosity, and better overall health.
Although men spend around one fifth of their day socially interacting with people from their network of friends, much of this interaction is impersonal. In order to truly strengthen their social bonds and experience the health benefits, they need to meet face to face, at least twice per week, with their inner circle of friends. According to Dunbar, this number shouldn't be higher than four; if the group gets too large, laughter becomes less likely along with the endorphines released by happy interactions.
Joint carpentry is acceptable, though perhaps not while drinking.
Dunbar further prescribes that guys "do stuff" while meeting up such as playing team sports of sharing a few jokes over a pint.
"When guys get together physically and more frequently with their mates," added Guinness Spokesperson Stephen O'Kelly, "their friendships become stronger and better and a richer life results."