A behavioural 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 we can only maintain a certain number of human connections at any one time.
In his latest book, Friends: Understanding the Power of our Most Important Relationships, the 73-year-old dissects scientific research into human groups to determine that 150 is the ‘magic number’ needed for success.
Mr Dunbar discovered that historically, 150 was the preferred grouping found in factories, small villages and and military units, where everyone knows each other’s names and skills and are willing to help each other when needed.
In modern times, Mr Dunbar says this number chiefly consist of ‘regular’ friends, who we see at weddings and school reunions where we promise to meet up more often, the Australian reported.
Within the 150 figure, Mr Dunbar suggests we have five ‘intimate’ friends – who would donate a kidney to you – and anywhere from 12 to 15 ‘supportive’ friends, who would be distraught if you died.
He also claims we have 50 ‘good’ friends, who would be invited to a birthday party but not to an intimate dinner at your house.
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, which is why the majority of people have roughly the same amount of friends.