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Facebook, only 4 out of 150 are "real friends"

The average Facebook user has hundreds (sometimes thousands) of contacts, but only a small number are friends. Oxford professor Robin Dunbar says this

The average Facebook user has hundreds (sometimes thousands) of contacts, but only a small number of these can be called friends. This was stated by a study by the University of Oxford, conducted by the team of psychologists led by Professor Robin Dunbar. The same professor who has theorized in the past that people can only maintain around 150 stable relationships. Dunbar has studied the results of 3,375 users between the ages of 18 and 65 in the United Kingdom. Out of an average of 150 contacts, only 4.1 are trusted people, 13.6 express closeness in the event of an emotional crisis. The results of this study show that the reports on social media are not very different from those offline, commented Dunbar. With the growth of the network of contacts, the number of close friendships does not increase. The youngest are those who have the most friends on Facebook, while with age the number of friends who correspond in real life is increasing. Social media thus encourages relationships with individuals with whom there is no direct link in everyday life. On the one hand this opens up new opportunities for communication, on the other it limits face-to-face interactions, which remain important in building strong and lasting relationships. The topic is not new: in January 2011 a Facebook user who calls herself Tanja Hollander has analyzed her 626 contacts on social media. About a month later, he decided to visit everyone, going to visit them at home, taking part in a project called Are You Really My Friend, you really are my friend. He has traveled to 43 states, 4 countries and 150 cities, photographing all his friends in their homes. He then told his experience in a Ted video, in 2012.

Facebook study real friends of Oxford University Professor Robin Dunbar

* The distribution of support clique size (a) and sympathy group size (b) for Sample 1 (N = 2000) / Image credit: Robin Dunbar

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