Better Alone than in Bad Company

Few human relationships have been so scrutinized has friendship. Some people think that friendship is the most valuable relationship a human being can have.

Friendship might not be essential to our physical survival, but is undeniably something that gives immense value to our lives.

Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light.
Helen Keller

Throughout the centuries much as been written about friendship and its benefits. People with friends live longer, are healthier and happier, and have more self-esteem.
All this benefits might suggest that “more friends, better life,” but maybe it’s not so linear and simple. We have a limited capacity for attention and friendship requires attention and care. The more friends we have the less attention we can give to each one of them.

A friend is someone who gives you total freedom to be yourself.
Jim Morrison

The British anthropologist Robin Dunbar has spent decades studying friendship and concluded that, in general, our friendships are distributed in four circles of proximity.
The closest circle can only contain five people — our best friends. In the second circle, ten people; the third, thirty; the fourth circle, the most distant, can contain around 100 people.
This makes a maximum of 150 people with whom we can maintain some semblance of friendship.

This number is way below the number of friends many people have on Facebook and other social media, which only reaffirms what we already know: Facebook friends are not really friends.

It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

In 2016, the Gallup Institute conducted a study in more than 100 countries. They asked the interviewees how many friends and close relatives they had. The answers revealed an average number of eight.
Has the number didn’t include only friends, but also close relatives, it seems to agree with Dunbar’s findings.

Things are never quite as scary when you’ve got a best friend.
Bill Watterson

More recent researches have highlighted the importance of frequent and ‘in person’ contact with our closest friends.
It’s very important to spend time with our friends even if were not doing anything at all. Friendship is primarily emotional — not and intellectual thing. Spending time and effort on friendship is essential if we want to enjoy its benefits.

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