How many friends do you have? No, not Facebook friends, silly. Real friends.

If you have only two, then you're an average American. A new study has suggested that our circle of friends is shrinking:

Participants were asked to list the names of people they had discussed "important matters" with over the previous six months. If respondents said "none," they asked whether this was because they didn't have any important matters to discuss or no one with whom to discuss them in the past six months.

About 48 percent of participants listed one name, 18 percent listed two, and roughly 29 percent listed more than two names for these close friends. On average, participants had 2.03 confidantes. And just over 4 percent of participants didn't list any names.

When Brashears looked closer at that number of socially isolated individuals, he found that 64 percent indicated that this was because they had no topic to discuss, while only about 36 percent had no one to talk to. Turns out, female participants and those who were educated were the least likely to report no names on their confidante list.

@TripleSteakGuy well of course it's just a mathematical concept, whether mean, mode or median. What bugs me is that most people assume "average" means normal. It doesn't.
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"Average is just a math concept."

Now, whenever I need a good laugh, I'll have a screen capture of this phrase on which to fall back.
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I read a study a while ago that said that the average human mind could not cope with more than thirty actual friends. Yes most of the people I know count their Facebook "friends" in three figures or even more. It's not the people who are wrong, it's Facebook. When you count all my real life (as opposed to online) acquaintances you would find there were over a hundred, but their are very few I would count as real friends.

Remember the old maxim about a friend in need? In that respect a friend is somebody who you would turn to in times of need and you would be happy for them to turn to you when they were in need of help. Those who prefer the maxim "a friend in need is a pain in the ass" probably don't have any true friends.

I don't think the number of true friends anybody can count has been changed by our online lives.

BTW I don't use social networking as I don't see what it would achieve.
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If you look at the distribution, there aren't that many people who are "average". Average is just a math concept. Half of us have one friend that is close enough to tell important things to. Others are more sociable, which brings the average up. I'm sure some of this has to do with the way the way the question is presented. I socialize on the net, but I tell all my everyday stuff and my problems to my husband, my kids, my mother, and other people I see every day. That's a whole lot easier than seeking out friends I'm not related to.
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Oops, clicked submit too fast. Was going to add though that I agree with Anise that the only reason my social circle is decently sized is that I'm blessed enough to have a job that (usually) permits me enough free time to engage in hobbies where I can meet and interact with people. Those struggling to makes ends meet are probably far more restricted to socializing with family and co-workers simply due to where you have to spend most of your time.
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