Friends play important roles throughout our lives by providing expressive, instrumental, and companionate support. We examined sexual orientation, gender, and age differences in the number of friends people can rely on for expressive, instrumental, and companionate support. Additionally, we examined the extent to which people relied on same-gender versus cross-gender friends for these types of support. Participants (N = 25,185) completed a survey via a popular news website. Sexual orientation differences in number of same-gender and cross-gender friends were generally small or non-existent, and satisfaction with friends was equally important to overall life satisfaction for all groups. However, the extent to which people’s friendship patterns demonstrated gender-based homophily varied by sexual orientation, gender, and age. Young adult gay and bisexual men, and to some extent bisexual women and older bisexual men, did not conform to gendered expectations that people affiliate primarily with their own gender.
Gillespie, Brian Joseph; Frederick, David; Harari, Lexi; and Grov, Christian, "Homophily, Close Friendship, and Life Satisfaction among Gay, Lesbian, Heterosexual, and Bisexual Men and Women" (2015). CUNY Academic Works.