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Too many friends?

Updated: Jun 30, 2023

This blog is dedicated to my dearest and closest friends...

I hope you know who you are and how much I value you.

Thank you for walking all those ups and downs with me.

Too many friends?

We live in an age where, seemingly, with the dawn of social media platforms and the world of apps, it has never been so easy to make friends. However, I wonder if we are all too easily drawn into the snare of counting “likes”, followers, hearts against our social media comments, in order to check out our worth.

Is there such a thing as too many friends? Suzanne Degges-White believes that quality rather than quantity is what counts. She categorizes friendships into four main groups…

…and concludes that:

“the number of close friends we need to feel that we have enough is somewhere between three and five. Not only that, but adults with four or five friends enjoy the highest levels of life satisfaction and those with three close friends are not far behind. And if you have one person who considers you their best friend, the satisfaction you enjoy in life is significantly higher than those who don’t.”

Celebrate your closest friends!

Elizabeth Day agrees, stating that “depression is minimised when individuals have four to five close friendships and engage in social activities on a weekly basis. Any more than this becomes actively disadvantageous”

Managing and maintaining too many relationships can actually cause depression.

Do either of these statements ring true for you?

a) Someone with lots of friends must be worth being friends with even if you hardly ever see them


b) Someone with fewer friends will be more likely to reciprocate a meaningful friendship?

So perhaps we need to spend some time thinking about the kind of friend we would like to be, and would like to have.

Kari Kampakis:

Worth considering is whether we are putting on a certain “face” with certain friends, not daring to be who we really are?

Friendships can be stretched beyond the point of no return – a distance creeps in, our values change, the direction we are heading changes, we realise we are not being ourselves... Perhaps we notice that the friendship is not good for us any more. Sometimes it is OK to acknowledge that they may have been great friendships for a time (or maybe they were never healthy, but we hadn't noticed), and let them go with fond memories of the good times so that we have more time and energy to focus on the very closest of friends.

I once heard an analogy that life can be like a bus journey - some friends get on the bus and stay there for the whole journey, some get off at earlier stops, and some get off and then back on again! And that is the normal way of things.

Aristotle, the Greek philosopher, penned some thoughts in around 300BC, about the “good” friendships we should seek:

Friendships of the good are friendships based on mutual respect, admiration, and appreciation for the qualities each of you brings to the relationship. These may begin as a function of propinquity, shared interests, or shared life stage, but the spark between the two friends is lit and the opportunity for increasing mutual self-disclosure and connection is harvested.


In a friendship of the good, you value who that friend actually is, strengths and weaknesses alike, and there is sufficient trust between the two that the relationship’s quality and depth outshine those of other types of friendship. These relationships endure and are fed by the mutuality of the esteem and appreciation between the true friends – even if the time between meetings stretches into months or years.

What kind of qualities matter to you?

The question I leave with you is:

Do the friends you have chosen make you shine?

For me, this poem says it all...

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