Sunday, November 06, 2011

Most people have about 2 people they consider friends.

A new study shows that most people have only two good friends:
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.

The study asked what the friends did for people such as provide companionship, loan money, give you a place to crash etc. and those with one friend said that their friend would not provide such things. I wonder if people just say that they have friends when what they really have are acquaintances? And what if your spouse is your friend? Does that not count?

Maybe more of us need to read books like How To Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie if we want friends or Living Alone and Loving It: A Guide to Relishing the Solo Life if we don't.

Do you think it's important to have friends?


Blogger Zorro said...

Another great book for and about introverts is Party of One: The Loner's Manifesto by Aneli Rufus.

She noted that when introverts learn that, in prison, solitary confinement is called a punishment, their heads reel.

10:58 AM, November 06, 2011  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it's good to have one or two fairly close friends, or a marriage, or both, as well as several casual friends or cordial acquaintances. The first two require cultivation and at least some sacrifice. The latter can be picked up by any well-mannered person in any number of civic associations or clubs. People need a certain amount of social interaction to keep their behavior monitored and for general health. Kind of like vitamin D ;-).

Nobody needs, indeed nobody can support, a large number of close friends. Extroverted types, who get their energy from interactions with others, may have the impression of many close friendships because they exercise the social queues that get smiles from others. But nobody's gonna give them a kidney or endure any significant discomfort to help them.

3:18 PM, November 06, 2011  
Blogger DADvocate said...

I consider myself to have a lot of friends, and I'm quite extroverted, but when it comes to confidantes the list gets much shorter real quick. It's a matter of proven trust. Saying the wrong thing to the wrong person can lead to complications even if the other person means no harm.

Plus, it takes time to develop a close friendship. Time that most people don't have to spare.

5:34 PM, November 06, 2011  
Blogger Zorro said...

@Dadvocate: Shared experiences count a lot, too. Two men who fought shoulder to shoulder on St. Crispin's Day, or two mothers who have special needs children. Being in the same boat in a storm allies people that time rarely weakens.

5:56 PM, November 06, 2011  
Blogger Misanthrope said...

My experience is that "friends" are enemies you let get close enough to stab you in the back while looking you in the face.

1:30 AM, November 07, 2011  
Blogger Helen Smith said...


"Another great book for and about introverts is Party of One: The Loner's Manifesto by Aneli Rufus."

I looked at that book after you or another commenter mentioned it a while back and really liked it. I especially like the positive spin she puts on being a loner.


6:13 AM, November 07, 2011  
Blogger Suzanne Lucas said...

I believe I have many friends. I'm sure many would allow me to "crash" at their place, but honestly, we're all so far past that stage in life, that I consider that a poor indicator of friendship, once you're out of the poor college years.

I wouldn't loan money to any of my friends, either, by the way. The last thing I want to do is ruin a friendship with a loan. If they need money, I would give them money.

Plus important matters? I don't have a whole host of "important" matters to discuss with people. I'm in a stable, happy marriage. My husband is employed. I'm employed. My children are healthy and the oldest is doing well in school. Does discussing the 3 year old's screaming fit after being dropped off at play group count as "important"?

Basically, my opinion is that this study stunk.

8:09 AM, November 07, 2011  
Blogger Magson said...

I'd say that I have 5 close friends who I could ask any favor of at any time, plus my wife would make a 6th.

Several acquaintances beyond that who it's fun to say hi to every so often but I wouldn't ask for favors. I'd be willing to do them favors if needed, but I doubt they feel close enough to me to ask either.

I consider myself an introvert. I'm not shy -- I'll talk to strangers in the checkout line at the store or at a bus stop at times -- but I don't seek out social situations either, so I'm most definitely not an extrovert.

10:28 AM, November 07, 2011  
Blogger BR said...

I think the real question that should be asked is what is the definition of "Friend"? I don't call someone "Friend" unless I'd go to war for them, metaphorically speaking at least. However, most people call others "Friend", when they really mean "Person I think is fun to be around".

Then again, I relish non-physical battle and believe judging others is part of being an adult, so if someone harms a friend I have no problem pointing at the bad person and yelling "Bad, Evil, Outcast".

Most people are too afraid of others to condemn bad behavior, which is part of the reason our society is in a death spiral.

- Brett

11:55 AM, November 07, 2011  
Blogger Zorro said...

@Helen: "I especially like the positive spin she puts on being a loner."

Introverts rock. We just don't rock in front of anyone else, so nobody knows but us.

1:10 PM, November 07, 2011  
Blogger br549 said...

I have a few acquaintances I've known decades, some a few years. I have only two very close friends, as suggested, both I've known about 50 years. One male, one female. As most of us could, I could have several hundred friends on Facebook. I have turned hundreds down, and trimmed the amount left to 35. All of them people I know in real life. A few are fellow guitar players and fellow conservative types, a mixture of men and women.

Ok, background done. What I am saying is there is no way, as has been said, one can have dozens of great and close friends. I recently attended a reunion of people who have not seen each other in roughly 40 years. I left it feeling that it was something to do for an afternoon and an evening. And yes, as an aside, men age much better than women.

1:40 PM, November 07, 2011  
Blogger Zorro said...

@br549: "as an aside, men age much better than women."

I don't mean to get into the whole gender crap over this, but you make a strong point. Women claim men mature later than women, but, as Confucius noted, "He is a great man who in manhood keeps the heart of a child."

Yupper. Men recognize the virtues of childhood and cherish them. Women appear to view childhood as a thing to get over.

Maybe br549 is reflecting on the physical aspects of aging, but I believe that men age better because we don't regard youth and innocence as character vices.

When I hear of a man who is called "a big kid," this is a guy I want to know.

Then there's that whole hypergamy thing. Women just get older. They get little bird footprints beneath their eyes. Men just get more skilled, more experienced and more worldly. Sean Connery. Yul Brynner.

Naomi Wolf...yikes. Despite the hooters.

When. Will. They. Ever. Learn?

2:56 PM, November 07, 2011  
Blogger Brother J said...

Jonathan Rauch wrote a good article on what it means to be an introvert for The Atlantic back in 2003. You can read it right here.

I like this quote in answer to what the question of how many people count as introverts: —"a minority in the regular population but a majority in the gifted population."

5:26 PM, November 07, 2011  
Blogger David said...

I have a very active "inner life". Too many people just wear me out. One real friend is enough for me. I had another, but he died. Someday, my friend may predecease me (she already did three times one day, so she has more practice than I do), but until then, I'm fine with one Real Friend.

10:44 AM, November 08, 2011  
Blogger Miss Conduct said...

I wonder all the time what friendship really is. Until I was about 35, I was quite the extrovert. For a variety of reasons being around people now drains me and leaves me feeling bruised. I've had friends whom I did favors for, like accompanying them to get a colonoscopy and taking them to the airport at 6 a.m., and they did the same for me ... but it all seemed strangely quid pro quo. Neither wanted to be beholden to the other, a mooch or a burden, but surely a real friend is one who gives unstintingly during those times that befall everyone, when one is incapacitated in some way and can't reciprocate.

It's my belief that all this yammering about friendship and intimacy coming out of the Psychology-Industrial Complex is due to the complete and total feminization of the field, and nothing more. "Studies" prove that things women value are awesome and good for you, and that anyone not in lockstep is screwing up.

On the other hand, loneliness is a real scourge, and a difficult condition to overcome. So, I am left womdering about these things. I have more faith in religion, philosophy, and literature to explain these mysteries than the dishonored field of psychology.

2:51 PM, November 08, 2011  
Blogger Mary E. Glynn said...

"Men recognize the virtues of childhood and cherish them. Women appear to view childhood as a thing to get over."

Women generalize.
Men are more specific.

Are you a closet woman, zorro?
I think you are...

4:14 PM, November 08, 2011  
Blogger Zorro said...


No. Not a closet women, nor any other variety.

But, hey, I'll take that as a compliment and move on with my life.

9:19 PM, November 08, 2011  
Blogger Todd said...

Most people throw around the word "friend" far too casually. Just like most people through around the word "love" far too casually.

If you have 2 or 3 true “friends” you are a lucky person indeed.

My definition of friend (which I picked up from my father and hold to be true) is "I call someone friend if I truly believe I could call them at 3:00AM and ask them to come down to the police station with bail money and expect their first question to be where verses why."

8:45 AM, November 09, 2011  
Blogger br549 said...

I am in agreeance with you, Miss Conduct.

The feminization of America is not a good thing. On the battlefield it'll kill you. Everywhere else it'll get you walked all over.

I have learned (even - or especially with - family) never to loan someone money. Just give it to them and let it go, provided the situation warrants it.

The difference between being alone and being lonely is like everything else, it's what's between the ears.

6:25 AM, November 10, 2011  
Blogger Zorro said...

"The difference between being alone and being lonely is like everything else, it's what's between the ears."

The Inner Game is strong with this one.

7:39 PM, November 10, 2011  

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