How Many Friends Do You Need To Have? A Complete Guide Into The Friendship Science

How Many Friends Do You Need To Have? A Complete Guide Into The Friendship Science

Humans are social creatures that need to stick together to survive. We encounter thousands of people throughout our lives, but there are few whom we call friends. Some people enjoy having a wide group of friends, others just a few. It all depends on your personality and how extroverted you are. But is there a golden number of friends a person must have, or is it a random thing?

This is a complicated topic on which many researchers and behaviorists have done many studies. These studies have found that most people tend to have more friends in the early stages of their lives between 11 to 24 years of age. After 24, the number of friends tends to go down as life becomes busy and people get less time to socialize. They start losing more casual friends and, by ages 30 to 40, are left with only a few close ones.


In your early schooling days, half of the school might have known you. In your high school days, these numbers were likely reduced, and by the time you reached college age, they were likely reduced to half. By the time you complete college, you will probably be left with a handful of friends who are close to you. 

How Many Friends Do You Need To Have?

There is absolutely no number associated with how many friends you need to have. Still, Robin Dunbar, a famous British Anthropologist who has worked on human behavior for years and has made some astonishing revelations about friends.

He named our inner friendship circle a support clique. This inner circle is the most valuable and meaningful group of friends that have the most impact on our social behaviors. According to research, a person must have a genuine support clique to reduce their chances of depression and anxiety. Dunbar proposed that around five such friends could make a real difference.

While he concluded that a person has a close circle, they can keep up with around 150 meaningful relationships, including those held over online spaces, though these relationships vary from person to person.

Dunbar concluded this number based on his studies of the human brain. Our brains have a cognitive limit on the number of slots that we have to keep up with people. On top of that, we have an acquaintance limit of around 500 spaces. This slot is primarily for colleagues or coworkers: people you’re not emotionally invested in but are around often.


How Can You Have More Friends?

Being supportive, being yourself, and being honest are essential parts of keeping and acquiring meaningful friendships. Vying for friendships that ultimately mean nothing will not help your support clique, and it is best to stick with a few close friends rather than many unsupportive ones. If you stay true to who you are and show it to others, you’ll gain more friends than you might think.

Human beings are inherently social beings who thrive on interpersonal relationships for survival. Throughout our lives, we interact with thousands of individuals, but only a handful of them become our friends. The number of friends one has often depends on the person’s personality and extroverted nature. Some people enjoy a broad social circle, while others prefer a more intimate group of friends.

Extensive research has been conducted on the ideal number of friends a person should have. However, the results vary, making it a complex topic open to interpretation. According to several studies, the number of friends a person has tends to peak between the ages of 11 and 24. This is typically the period when social interactions are high, and people have more time to engage and build relationships. However, as individuals grow older, their social circles tend to shrink due to increasing responsibilities, work commitments, and less time for socializing.

By the ages of 30 to 40, people often find themselves surrounded by a few close friends, having lost contact with casual acquaintances. This pattern is observed from early schooling years, when almost everyone in school might know you, to high school, where the numbers reduce, and by college, it’s usually halved. By the time college ends, only a handful of close friends remain.

However, the question remains: how many friends does one need? According to British anthropologist Robin Dunbar, there is no set number. Dunbar has made significant contributions to the study of human behavior and friendship. He coined the term ‘support clique’ to refer to the intimate circle of friends that have the most significant impact on our social behaviors.

Research indicates that having a supportive clique can significantly reduce the risk of depression and anxiety. Dunbar suggested that having around five close friends could make a real difference in a person’s life. Furthermore, he estimated that a person could maintain meaningful relationships with about 150 people, including online relationships. This number, derived from studying the human brain’s cognitive capacity, varies from person to person.

In addition to this, Dunbar proposed that we have an acquaintance limit of around 500 people. This category typically includes colleagues or coworkers – individuals we interact with regularly but don’t have a deep emotional connection with.

So, how can one acquire more friends? The key lies in being supportive, authentic, and honest. These qualities are essential in cultivating and sustaining meaningful friendships. Attempting to build superficial friendships that offer no real value can be counterproductive. It’s better to have a few close, supportive friends than a large number of unsupportive ones. By being true to yourself and expressing your genuine personality, you’re likely to attract more friends than you might think.

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How Many Friends Do You Need To Have? A Complete Guide Into The Friendship Science

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