The case for fewer friends - Deepstash
The case for fewer friends

The case for fewer friends

vox.com

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Quality friendships are better than quantity

Quality friendships are better than quantity

Having lots of friends does have benefits. Research shows that people who regularly interacted with 10 or more friends in midlife have higher levels of psychological well-being than those who had fewer than 10.

But you don't need dozens of friends to enjoy the fruits of friendship. Even having one friend is a net positive. Instead of trying to keep in contact with everyone you've ever met, consider the value of a few close confidants.

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You only need three (or four, or five)

A study by evolutionary psychologist Robin Dunbar showed that people could cognitively handle up to 150 meaningful social relationships (including family and friends). Out of those connections, Dunbar found that people can have five close friendships.

Those in whom you've invested the most time are likely to be part of the inner circle of intimate friends. Here you can be unabashedly yourself without the need to self-censor or perform. They make you feel energised, comfortable, restored, authentic, valued, and vulnerable, and in turn, you also delight in supporting them.

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How to foster these relationships

How to foster these relationships

Deep friendships require effort. You'll need to share time and space often to deepen a friendship.

  • Be available and have the energy to hang out.
  • Having a reliable routine ensures you see each other regularly, such as attending a weekly yoga class.
  • Knowing another what's going on in a person's life helps to better connect in the moment.
  • Each of your friends can fulfil a different role in your life.

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When just a few friends isn’t enough

Focusing on your community and supporting others can help blunt the effects of loneliness.

An easy way to bolster your social life is to engage in casual conversation with acquaintances and familiar faces such as fellow parents. These relationships can blossom into close friends.

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