Revealed: The EXACT Number Of Friends You Need To Be Successful – And Why Having Too Many Can Be Just As Bad As Having None
- Robin Dunbar is a British psychologist specializing in human behavior
- He believes we can only maintain a certain number of connections at a time
- Based on research on human groups, he says the magic number is 150
- These are mainly ‘regular’ friends we see at weddings and school reunions
- Mr. Dunbar suggests that we have five “intimate” and 12 to 15 “supportive” friends
A behavioral psychologist has revealed the exact number of friends you need to be successful – and why having too many can be just as bad as having none.
British anthropologist and ‘mathematician of relationships’ Robin Dunbar believes that we can only maintain a certain number of human connections at a time.
In his latest book, Friends: Understand the power of our most important relationshipsdissects the 73-year-old scientific research into human groups to determine that 150 is the “magic number” needed for success.
Mr. Dunbar found that in the past 150 was the preferred group in factories, small villages and military units, where everyone knows each other’s names and skills and is willing to help each other out when needed.
British anthropologist and ‘mathematician of relationships’ Robin Dunbar believes we can only maintain a certain number of human connections at a time (stock image)
Robin Dunbar’s friend layers
Intimate Friends: 5 (who would donate you a kidney)
Supporting Friends: 12 to 15 (who would be desperate if you died)
Good friends: 50 (who would be invited to your birthday party, but not to dinner)
Regular friends: 150 (that you meet at weddings and school reunions)
Source: Friends: Understand the power of our most important relationships by Robin Dunbar
In modern times, Mr. Dunbar says that this number is mostly ‘regular’ friends, who we see at weddings and school reunions where we promise to meet more often the Australian reported.
Within the figure of 150, Mr. Dunbar suggests that we have five “close” friends – who would donate you a kidney – and somewhere between 12 and 15 “supportive” friends, who would be distraught if you died.
He also claims that we have 50 “good” friends who would be invited to a birthday party, but not to an intimate dinner at your place.
Mr Dunbar’s theory is based on the idea that we only have a certain amount of “emotional capital” or energy to invest in others. Therefore, the majority of people have about the same number of friends.
Robin Dunbar (pictured) found that 150 was the group historically preferred in factories, small villages, and military units
Trying to preserve too many social circles leads to burnout because we stretch ourselves too thin, his theory suggests.
Mr. Dunbar’s research into human interaction has been used to determine the ideal number of participants for everyday activities, from dinner parties to walking groups.
Four is the perfect number of guests to invite to dinner if you want to have a meaningful conversation that gets everyone involved, but six should be invited if you want the discussion to cover a wider range of topics.
His theory argues that 10 is the ideal book club membership to encourage diverse and lively debate, while holiday groups should consist of no more than eight to avoid arguments and headaches over restaurant reservations.