Thursday, December 30, 2010

Look at all my friends!

You’ve Got to Have (150) Friends (NY Times)

According to Oxford University anthropologist Robin Dunbar, the most number of friends that we can meaningful relationships with is 150. In the Facebook world, anyone beyond that is simply a "voyeur". They are able to "peek" into your life but do not necessarily meaningfully contribute on social and emotional levels.

I have 654 friends on Facebook. I know, because I just checked. All are great in their own ways and there are so many unique, talented and interesting individuals. But true "friends"? I have old classmates and former students. Co-workers and people I've met in my travels. But the "inner circle" is small. And that's okay; I wouldn't want it any other way.

The part of the article that fascinated me was:

In the real world, according to research by myself and others, we devote 40 percent of our limited social time each week to the five most important people we know, who represent just 3 percent of our social world and a trivially small proportion of all the people alive today.

The world population is in the neighborhood of 6.5 billion people. If this statement is true, most people devote nearly half their social time to 7.6923077e-10 percent (my math) of the people on earth. I think that speaks a little to how insignificant we all are. I also think it speaks volumes about how infinitely significant those closest to us are.

1 comment:

Courtney said...

i would like it if we always stayed in each other's 150! :)