Robbie Woliver

Alphabet Kids

National Unfriend Day: Can you have too many friends?

Jimmy Kimmel's National Unfriend Day just might be counterproductive.

Posted Nov 11, 2010

Jimmy Kimmel

Jimmy Kimmel thinks we have way too many friends.

It might sound like a joke, but Jimmy Kimmel might be on to something when he suggests National Unfriend Day. Thanks to Facebook, many of us have way too many friends. Well, actually, in most cases, they aren't even real friends at all.

The average Facebooker has about 120 friends.  Anthropologist Robin Dunbar, says that humans have an average of about 150, and that the human brain can't really accept more than that. Dunbar says you have a core of about five, then another ten close ones beyond that, and then the outer circle is 35, complemented by about another 100 who have have some sort of "obligation of friendship." So what about all these Facebook people with thousands of "friends?" Well, in their defense, it is Facebook that refers to them as friends, not you. In many cases, people are friended in order to network either socially or professionally, although there are many who only want the big headcount. Many people I didn't initially know, but who friended me for some reason have become friends--people I now care about and with whom I am interested in pursuing an ongoing social obligation. 

So on Wednesday, Nov 17, National Unfriend Day, you might want to think twice before you get rid of those annoying Facebook friends who you just accepted only to be nice, because not only might they be interesting enough to get to know better, but there is another study that reports that the more friends you have, the wealthier you will be.

For more information about social relationships check out Alphabet Kids: A Guide to Developmental, Neurobiological and Psychological Disorders for Parents and Professionals.

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