Social media has expanded our circles of friendship. However, not all friends are equally close. There are different levels of intimacy, and taking into account these levels there is not much difference between the friends that you had before and those that you have now .
At least in the case of an average North American according to a new study on the social dynamics of 2,000 Americans
The problem of breaking into already created circles
According to this study, this is what the friends of an average American would be like :
- 3 lifelong friends
- 5 good friends
- 8 people they like but don’t usually hang out with
- 50 acquaintances
- 91 friends on social networks
The study also found that 45% of adults say they find it difficult to make new friends. And that the average American hasn’t made a new friend in five years .
In fact, for many it seems that popularity peaks at age 23, and 36% peaks even before age 21.
The study, conducted by OnePoll in conjunction with Evite, found that one of the reasons 42 percent of adults struggle to make friends is due to introversion or shyness. And the challenge not only means coming out of his shell, but also breaking into new situations and social circles .
Most respondents mention friendship barriers that include the feeling that everyone’s friendship groups have already formed.
If we look at the average figures, they are not too far from the famous Dunbar number: according to researcher Robin Dunbar , all human groups can only create deep emotional ties with an average of 150 individuals. The number of group members with whom a primate can maintain such contact appears to be limited by the volume of the cerebral neocortex .
Dunbar compared this prediction with observable groups of humans . Starting with the assumption that the human neocortex developed around 250,000 years ago, he searched the anthropological and ethnographic literature for a kind of census of social group sizes in nomadic societies. Dunbar noted that the groups fell into three categories : 30-50, 100-200, and 500-2500 individuals.
Friends in old age
Be that as it may, it seems that in old age friends are more important than family . Friends become increasingly important to health and happiness as people age, according to new research in Personal Relationships magazine.
Friendship also prolongs the life expectancy of older people, even longer than family relationships, notes a study conducted in Australia and published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. For the research, 1,477 people aged 70 and over were followed to determine the influence of relationships on their longevity.