Do I Have Enough Friends?

I know that is a whacky question.  What number equals enough when it comes to friends?  Is it two really intimate relationships that makes you healthy?  Or is it better to have 10 people who you consider your ‘bff’s’.

The truth is there is no answer!  However, it appears that scientists are busy asking if there is a correlation between friends and brain size.  Well, not brain size in general, but particular areas of the brain.

I was reading an article published by the Royal Society  on the number of Facebook friends that a person has and their ‘focal brain structure’.  In very simple terms it appears that there is a difference between social online network friends and ‘real friends’.  And different areas of our brains do in fact correspond to relationships with what we’ll call ‘real friends’ and social networks of friends.  The science has become rather precise in that they can now theorize about  individual differences in brains.  People with very high numbers of online social network friends seem to be naturally better at ‘pairing faces’.  They are also better at recognizing movements like hand waving or body touching but there isn’t any true understanding of why that part of the brain is supportive of online social environments.

I found this list of questions fun-  This list gives scientists a hint as to how many friends a person has.  Ready to check yourself?  Here goes:

Social network size questionnaire

Eighty participants were recruited from the UCL student community (28 males; mean age 22.1 ± 2.9 (s.d.) years). The questionnaire was adapted from Stileman & Bates [33]. It consisted of the following nine questions.

  • — How many were present at your 18th or 21st birthday party?

  • — If you were going to have a party now, how many people would you invite?

  • — What is the total number of friends in your phonebook?

  • — Write down the names of the people to whom you would send a text message marking a celebratory event (e.g. Birthday, Christmas, new job, good exam result, etc.). How many people is that?

  • — Write down the names of people in your phonebook you would meet for a chat in a small group (one to three people). How many people is that?

  • — How many friends have you kept from school and university whom you could have a friendly conversation with now?

  • — How many friends do you have on ‘Facebook’?

  • — How many friends do you have from outside school or university?

  • — Write down the names of the people of whom you feel you could ask a favour and expect to have it granted. How many people is that?

Apparently I could use more friends, particularly the type that I can ask a favor of and expect to have it granted! 🙂

Is there anyone out there with a Fairy Godmother or Fairy Godfather complex that needs to make someone happy?  I’m available!





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