Friendships can help us solve a number of challenges, increasing our welfare and fitness. Across evolutionary time, some of the many challenges that friendships helped to solve may have differed between men and women. By considering the specific and potentially distinct recurrent problems men’s and women’s friendships helped them solve, we can derive predictions about the qualities that would have made men’s and women’s same-sex friends ideal partners. This logic leads to several predictions about the specific friend preferences that may be differentially prized by men and women. Across three studies (N = 745) with U.S. participants—assessing ideal hypothetical friends, actual friends, and using a paradigm adapted from behavioral economics—we find that men, compared to women, more highly value same-sex friends who are physically formidable, possess high status, possess wealth, and afford access to potential mates. In contrast, women, compared to men, more highly value friends who provide emotional support, intimacy, and useful social information. Findings suggest that the specific friendship qualities men and women preferred differed by sex in ways consistent with a functional account of friendship.

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The Louvin Brothers- “Satan Is Real” (1959)

Grasende Schafe auf der Waldlichtung (1890) Paul Wilhelm Keller-Reutlingen

Mädchen mit Korb und Flasche im Mohnblumenfeld (Ca. 1900-1920) Paul Wilhelm Keller-Reutlingen

White mountain national forest.

Verse of the Day: Salvation - Isaiah 45:22

Let all the world look to me for salvation!

For I am God; there is no other.

Statuette of the Egyptian crocodile headed god Sobek, Late Period, Dynasty 26–30 (664–332 BCE).

A Windy Day, Gaetano Bellei

A once hollow 4,600 year old game-board inlaid with shell for what we now call The Royal Game of Ur: The original gameplay is lost but a version was played in the ‘50s in a Jewish community in India. A ~177 BCE set of rules and rule copies were found and a modern set derived.

Thisbe, John William Waterhouse

There are multiple answers to the question of where we come from: early hominins, monkeys, primordial goo, or the Big Bang, to name a few. Today’s answer, though, has probably, just a split second ago, popped into many readers’ minds. Today’s answer is sexual intercourse, a.k.a. “bleeping.” So let’s go back to the beginning, hundreds of millions of years before we invented euphemisms and censorship, and let’s ask: How in the evolutionary world did sex begin?