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How Many Friends Are Enough?

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Contributor:
Adrian Musolino
Adrian Musolino

A recent survey, conducted by the One Poll site, examined our relationships and friendships, in particular the number of friends we have and how many of them we can truly rely on and the findings fly in the face of recent trends exemplified by the growth and use of social networking sites. 

So how many can you truly rely on? Just three apparently. 

The average amount of friends was a total of 16, a number that significantly decreases with age.

The numbers are low apparently due to our busy lifestyles, what many describe as the biggest impediment to fostering new and maintaining old friendships.   

Bearing in mind the inaccuracies associated with such an Internet poll of 3,000 participants, the numbers seem remarkably low especially in this day and age of hundreds of friends on social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and others. 

Is this poll an acceptance that such sites have hijacked the true meaning of friendship and are we resorting back to the truer sense of the word? 

Let’s hope so. 

Social networking sites are not a substitute to true friendship. They should be instead used as a vehicle to enhance and develop friendships, especially useful in situations when distance is a factor, but not the only source of friendship. 

Too many rely on social networking sites as their only means of sustaining a friendship and such sites result in other risks as examined in this study.

Perhaps the non-satisfaction of relationships fostered through these sites has prompted the stark realisation that friendship is more than just poking, tagging and pillow fighting through a keyboard and we are reassessing the true definition of friendship. 

Perhaps it’s just a sign of a maturing outlook from the survey participants. 

As you grow older, and this process seems to accelerate in your twenties when you leave the cocoon of school and/or university and you’re thrown into the monotony of the working environment (partly the cause of our busy lifestyle that impedes time spent with friends), you lose touch with friends and grow closer to a select few.

It seems to be a common experience for many in there twenties and one that seems to naturally happen. 

So how many friends are enough?  

Unlike what Facebook and co propagates, it is not the quantity but the quality.
 

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