Have you ever wondered if there is an optimal number of friends that you should have, to make your life fit together perfectly? The answer is closer than you think!
Professore Robin Dunbar claims that the number of people with whom you can hold personal relationships is limited to about 150 individuals. Now cast a quick look at your Facebook account. What do you see? Most probably the number of your ‘friends’ is less or around 150. If it’s 200 and more, it is very likely that you don’y know or you haven’t met at least 50 of them. If it’s 300 and more…..I regret to tell you…but…you might be a Friend Collector – somebody who can’t help adding long-lost friends and half-remembered college classmated to their list of ‘trophies’.
The 150 number seems to be a natural limit set by the size of the brains and fits a general pattern relating brain size and social group size across the monkeys and apes.
This circle of 150 is not an homogenous social group: it consists of four layers, the Circles of Acquaintanceship, which scale relative to each other by a factor of three (an inner core of five intimates, and then successive layers at 15, 50 and 150).
With each successive circle, the number of people included increases but the emotional intimacy decreases.
Although there has been a fashion for competitively adding ‘friends’ to one’s social network internet site, in fact most people’s social network sites contain only 100-150 names, and of these most exchanges are directed at the small inner core.
This seems to be because, ultimately, relationships survive only if you reinforce them by occasional face-to-face contacts.
So if you really care about your friends, why not check your list and answer frankly, who belongs to which cirle. Maybe it’s time to reorganize the layers 😉