Forget friends on Facebook, we have only 5 real friends

By : |May 24, 2016 0

You may have thousand-plus friends, on Facebook, but a research has discovered that humans actually have only five real friends.

While humans have the capability of living in complex, layered societies, scientists have found that we have an upper limit of friends we can include in our inner circle. This upper limit of five has remained the same for thousands of years and may have influenced social relationships when humans lived in groups as hunters, the study states.

A new friend added on a social network is actually more distant than friends in our inner circle. The study suggests that even with a few friends, humans can still be amongst hundreds of acquaintances.

The university of Sydney, Australia’s Michael Harré and Mikhail Prokopenko said that whilst we may have only five real friends, we can build contacts with up to 132 people through them.
The researchers prepared computer models analysing human social networks and compared these to hunter-gatherer societies.

From an evolutionary perspective, it was pertinent to have small groups of close-knit bonds when humans went on dangerous expeditions while hunting. Hence, it meant that one needn’t have to be closer to the rest of the extensive group when a strong connection with five others was formed.
Most new connections made on social media are through meeting friends of others as well.

Writing in the Journal of Royal Society Interface, the researchers concluded, “humans were probably egalitarian in hunter–gatherer-like societies, maintaining an average maximum of four or five social links connecting all members in a largest social network of around 132 people”.
The ‘Social Brain Hypothesis’ describes “neurologically constrained capacity for maintaining long-term stable relationships”, they added. This basically states that our brain cannot handle maintaining friendships over a certain threshold.

How social hierarchies are formed can be derived from the ‘hunter-gatherer’ example- only a few people within a large group need to directly know in order for you to become the leader figure.

While we add more contacts on social media, we simultaneously drift away from our original group of ‘real’ friends.

In 2014, the average number of Facebook friends was 338. The researchers stated that this number is unlikely to change the number of friends we really have.

No Comments so fars

Jump into a conversation

No Comments Yet!

You can be the one to start a conversation.