This is exactly how many friends you need to be happy, according to science
A PSYCHOLOGIST has revealed the exact number of friends you should have in order to be successful – and having too many is as bad as having one.
According to research, the number of close friends that someone should have is surprisingly small – although apparently, we can have meaningful relationships with up to 150 people.
Oxford University Anthropologist Dr Robin Dunbar researched human relationships in the early 90s and concluded that humans can maintain relationships with 148 people, due to the size of our brain’s neocortex.
148 became known as ‘Dunbar’s Number’, and while it may seem like a lot of meaningful relationships, it includes family, friends, work colleagues and acquaintances.
In 2016, he introduced the concept of ‘Dunbar’s Layers’ – a biological and sociological model which took into account the closeness of each relationship.
The closest layer is just up to five people, and these will be the relationships that mean the most to you.
Think about the TV show Friends – Ross, Rachel, Joey, Phoebe, Chandler, and Monica each have five close friends, and they seem pretty happy.
In Dunbar's Layers, the following cumulative layers are 15, 50, and 150 people, and emotional closeness obviously decreases as the number gets larger.
The top end, 150 (or anywhere between 100 and 200), are the casual friends that you may invite if you were throwing a large party.
The 50 friends may be the ones that you would certainly call ‘close’, but may not see in person that often.
The group of 15 are your pals who you confide most things to, and that small five usually includes your family members or most intimate pals, who are your closest support group.
So who would be in each of your layers? Maybe it’s worth reaching out to your wider layers that you haven’t seen for a while, and invite them for a coffee – perhaps they’ll end up in your closer circle.
You can meet friends in the most bizarre circumstances – check out the women who became friends with the girls that stole their boyfriends.
Do you ever ditch YOUR friends for your dog? Turns out, it's more common than you think.
And here are sisters who admit that they wouldn't be friends if it they weren't related… and their reasons will surprise you.
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