Since beginning to go to church in 2004, I find that I have a lot more friends. By nature, I'm a lone wolf who would spend all my time in a corner with a book if I had my way. Church pushes me to be social which is good for me. Heck, I'm even on the parish council now, so I can pretend to have leadership skills. Plus my friends are always hooking me up with great stuff. Even liberals admit that this form of non-governmental social capital is good for society.
But is this a general phenomenon? My situation is peculiar because most of my colleagues (professors) are not my kind of people, so I don't make many friends at work.
As usual, the GSS enlightens us. Here are the mean number of close friends by church attendance:
Mean number of close friends (sample size = 1,463)
Never attends 6.44
Less than once a year 7.25
Once a year 7.21
Several times a year 5.83
Once a month 6.74
Two to three times a month 7.49
Nearly every week 9.89
Every week 7.90
More than once a week 9.25
Number of close friends tends to rise with attendance. I'm not alone.