How Many Close Friends Can You Have?

close friends wacky

Close friends are people you can count on. Ever wondered how many close friendships can you sustain in your life? How many before someone gets hurt?

A friend is someone you can count on. It’s often said you’re a lucky person if you can count the number of good friends you have on one hand. 

According to Robin Dunbar, a professor of evolutionary anthropology at the University of Oxford, “The core number of intimate, close friendships people have is limited to between five and seven. They’re the ones who you’d go to in times of great crisis or distress.”

True friends are people who support your goals and your dreams, not only when things are going well, but also when things are not going so well.

It is a wonderful feeling to be able to discuss all your thoughts and experiences with a friend who lends a sympathetic ear and who you know will have your best interests at heart. 

You may find that some so-called friends are there for you when you discuss enjoyable things and want to laugh and have a good time; but when you are upset, they are too busy to be there for you.

One of the problems we face today with our young generation is most of them put their friends in the “close friendship category”. They wonder later why these so-called friends have let them down or found out they could not count on them when they needed them the most.

As you can see from Robin Dunbar’s explanation above, we cannot sustain any more than five to seven close friendships in our lives. So we must prioritize and scale down our close friendship list to about six people.

This way we can devout an equal amount of time to each of them. So why do we get into a predicament and position ourselves to a point where we cannot count on our close friends?

The answer may be in the example I have in my own experiences. While my daughters were growing up, whenever I met a friend of theirs and asked who it was, more times than not, one of them would say, “Oh, that was my best friend.”

I used to wonder. I’d laugh to myself and think, “How many best friends can you have?” One of my daughters even went so far as to say to me, “No Dad, this really is my best of best friends.”

I would marvel at them all hugging, kissing and saying “Love you.” I mean, has it come to the point where we just say words these days without any substance to them?

As the years went by, I had to watch and endure my daughters being let down and hurt by their many so-called “best friends”. One by one, they reluctantly had to discontinue their association with these “pretend best friends”.

Eventually they had to come to the conclusion that, after knowing them for many years, they were not really close friends at all.

When I was growing up, I remember having many friends that I spent time with, but only two or three close ones that I could count on. No wonder you hear of so many young adults these days having issues with their friends letting them down and getting hurt by them.

You only can sustain about six best friends comfortably at any one time without getting out of control in this area of your life.

The lesson here is obvious: Have a list of five or six best friends but no more than seven, and you will have a better chance of having some people in your life who you can count on.

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