I, of course, like to think of myself as having at least a normal size brain and being a relatively nice person about 95 percent of the time. (depending on driving conditions and customer service issues that percentage may dip or spike a bit).
WELL as I was saying about this study..... it occurs to me that before starting the task of paring my friend list down to 5, maybe I would research it a bit further. Wouldn't want to be accused of being a friend hoarder or misclassify my pals into the inappropriate categories
Back in the early 1990s, a British anthropologist, Robin Dunbar did a major study on the number of people that could realistically be in an individual's social sphere. His research was predicated on the idea that the size of a primate's brain (yes...we are talking monkey's brains here) and it's later evolved human brain dictated the number of people that could effectively be in a monkey/human's social group. That "supposed" number of people that one can call friends is around 150 which would become known as the Dunbar's Number. Well..that used to be the number but I will be getting to that in a moment.
Thankfully man evolved, talking became a thing, and we started collecting confidantes. Turns out talking smack about other people is far more satisfying that picking bugs and such off of them. Actually, Dunbar wrote a whole book Grooming, Gossip, and the Evolution of Language explaining his theory that speech evolved because early man was needing an easier way to bond with others beside using social grooming. Makes you wonder, which came first, the social greeting like "UGH!" or some prehistoric pickup line that amounts to "you want some of this?"
To be fair, later in the study they did include Facebook as part of the research. In that portion it was noted that a lot of Facebook friends don't fit the criteria of being real friends. (OMG..I hope that didn't shock anyone)
Also, I can't help but be a bit disappointed that it didn't tell us in the results how many of the test participants lost their friends due to the extreme over usage of their cell phones. Forty phone calls a day seem a bit excessive but then again, maybe none of my friends think our friendship is "40 calls a day" worthy.
Matthew Brashears, assistant professor of sociology at Cornell University - See more at: http://www.livescience.com/16879-close-friends-decrease-today.html#sthash.B73otcOA.dpufAS FOR THE RESULTS...after crunching all the numbers over the last 9 years or so, it turns out that while we might have a 150 people that we "call" our friends, our human brain latches on to about 15ish people we really bond with....and 4 or 5 of those that are very close confidantes.Me being the cynic I am, I am not sure how one would calculate the level of "closeness" assigned to an individual's friends nor take into account a extroverted person's numbers compared to an introverted person's numbers but I think it does bring up an interesting conversation of "who do you consider a true friend?" So you think 5 BEST friends is a reasonable number? Do you have a 150 people in your support group that you could honestly say are your friends and not just an acquaintance? AND if you are making 40 non-business related calls a day, do you have time to do anything else?