Business

200 friends on Facebook highest limit of real friends, others acquaintances, strangers

200 friends on Facebook highest limit of real friends, others acquaintances, strangers

200 friends on Facebook highest limit of real friends, others acquaintances, strangers

If a latest research is to be believed, a person cannot actually have more than 200 friends. And if people’s Facebook profiles show them flaunting thousands of friends, this means that they are lying.

The latest research suggests that real friends’ numbers on social media for any person cannot be more than 200 except of course in the case of exceptions. The research goes on to add that many people who are ‘friends’ on Facebook are not either friends or even acquaintances.

So there is every possibility that the long list of friends that people flaunt are those people whom he or she cannot even recognize when they bump into each other. According to psychologist professor Robin Dunbar from the University of Oxford who conducted two surveys, among regular social media users, the average number of friends they had on Facebook was 155 in the first survey and 183 in the second.

According to the latest research report women had more friends than men (in the first sample, women averaged 166 and men just 145 friends; in the second, it was 196 vs 157) while – perhaps unsurprisingly – older generations had fewer friends than younger ones, Dunbar found. According to him, social media certainly help to slow down the natural rate of decay in relationship quality that would set in once we cannot readily meet friends face-to-face.

While detailing the findings Dunbar says, “But no amount of social media will prevent a friend eventually becoming ‘just another acquaintance’ if you don’t meet face-to-face from time to time”. The report has been published in Royal Society Open Science journal. “There is something paramount about face-to-face interactions that is crucial for maintaining friendships. Seeing the white of their eyes from time to time seems to be crucial to the way we maintain friendships,” he added. Offline, research has given rise to what’s called the Social Brain Hypothesis. This says that our brain’s ability to process multiple relationships creates a natural group size of 100-200 people for humans.

Then there are other issues. This size is also constrained by the time required to maintain relationships – we only have so much time to devote to meeting or talking to people. Social media may seem to be a way to make and maintain hundreds of friendships. It has been suggested that social media might overcome the constraints because posts, tweets and pictures allow us to talk to many more people at the same time even if the interaction is not direct. This prompted Dunbar to carry out two surveys of more than 3,300 people to see whether using the Internet really means we can have more friends.

Sue Fudge, director at Dorset bakers Thomas J. Fudge’s while talking about the findings says, “The research shows that face-to-face interaction is essential for truly authentic relationships and that shares, selfies and ‘likes’ are no replacement for the bonding that takes place while sharing food, experiences and anecdotes”.

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