How many ‘friends’ do you really have?

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BBC Radio 2 (yes, I know it reveals my age bracket) recently had a report on the optimum number of people with whom it’s possible to maintain stable social relationships. It turns that the magic figure is around 150, the so-called ‘Dunbar’s Number’, first proposed by British anthropologist Robin Dunbar. So, when people boast about having more than 250 people in their social networking circle, can this be true? I always think: have they actually met and have real relationships with all of these people? Have these cyber-relationships become as important as ‘real’ ones?

Maybe I’m just an old(er) cynic, but web-based social networking forums appear to have changed the nature of relationships between people and created a new meaning for the word ‘friend’. Or maybe I need to get more friends.