No matter the total, most have few friends they consider close.
New research just released indicates no matter the number of friends in your social media repertoire, only a very few are actually your real friends, according to an article on sciencetimes.com.
The study says restraints on brain capacity and free time indicate humans can process a relationship with a natural group size of about 100 to 200 people, and all the others on your list are merely acquaintances or simple people we know, but only in passing.
Researchers looked at two surveys involving more than 3,300 people to investigate if using social media over the internet led to making and having more friends. The survey participants averaged having 155 Facebook friends in the first survey, and 183 in the second. Also noted was the fact the women tended to have more social media friends than men, with women averaging 166 in the first survey and men with 145, and the women also outscored the men 196 to 157 in the second.
When quizzed about the number of friends they would actually turn to for problems or concerns, the two groups reported an average of four and 14, respectively. Both groups reported only 28 percent of their total number of friends as actually considered being close to them.
According to Professor Robert Dunbar, a British evolutionary psychologist, a hypothetical limit of about 150 people is all most can handle, due to limits in building relationships and time for socializing. He admits there may be some flexibility, depending on whether you are looking for strong relationships with fewer friends, or weaker relationships with a higher number of friends.
There are also those who suspect the limit can be stretched by some individuals, and the time for socialization can be expanded through the use of social media posts and chats, that allow for including several people in various locations in the same conversation at the same time.
However, Professor Dunbar says, “There is something paramount about face-to-face interactions that is crucial for maintaining friendships.”
The results from Dunbar’s study can be found online at The Royal Society.