Showers over Windermere from Holbeck Lane near Troutbeck.

The Dying Art of Friendship

April 1, 2022

Some notes inspired by David Brooks, Robin Dunbar and Robin Dyke – with thanks so all my 150 ‘meaningful’ relationship people, my 15 ‘closer’ friends and my five ‘besties’ – thank y’all!

  • Maximum number of meaningful relationships most people can have – 150.
  • Invitees to an average American wedding – 150.
  • People on an average UK Christmas Card list – 150.
  • Number of people in early human hunger/gatherer communities – 150.
  • Circle of ‘close’ friends – 15.
  • Most intimate circle – 5.
  • Biggest influence on closer friendship, shared views on music, politics, professors, world view and similar sense of humour.
  • Time needed in another’s company to progress from acquaintance to friend – 45 hours.
  • Time needed to move from casual friend to meaningful friend – around 50 hours – over a 90 day period.
  • To move into most intimate – another 100 hours.
  • Hours devoted to intimate friends over a month – 8½ hours each.
  • Hours devoted to closer friends – two hours each.
  • Hours devoted to the larger friend circle – 20 minutes.
  • Extroverts spend social energy across more people and have more but weaker close friendships.
  • Introverts invest in fewer people but have stronger ties to them.
  • A crucial factor in friendship is social skills – something which is eroding rapidly in the face of our increasingly on-line world/life.
  • Our happiness is hugely dependent on our ability to understand and be considerate to others.
  • The average person can expect to have a close relationship breakdown every 2.3 years – usually through lack of communication.
  • Good friends
    • stand up for friends when they are not around, 
    • share important news with them, 
    • confide vulnerabilities, 
    • provide emotional support.

You can’t make Old Friends!  And as the Lone Ranger said “To have a friend, a man must first be one.”



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