Yesterday I was talking to someone about my blog when she told me, “My problem is that I have too many friends. I have no time to see them all. One of my friends is moving away and I’m relieved because it’s one less person to fit in my calendar.”
My first response: Poor you. Perhaps you also have too much money and too much trouble gaining weight.
But actually, I get it. This woman is from Chicago. Her life and most of the people she loves are here. It’s similar to when I head back to NYC. Sometimes I withhold the fact that I’m in town from certain people, because trying to juggle seeing everyone in a two-day period is simply not possible. Then I feel totally guilty, and even a bit stressed—what if I “forgot” to tell someone that I’m back home, and then I run into her at a bar? (It’s more likely than you’d think.) I’d feel like a total ass, when really it was that I want to spend quality time with her, but this trip was a high school affair, or for the college pals. Ugh, I want to poke my eye out just thinking about it.
So while having too many friends is a good problem to have, I can see where it might, in fact, be a real problem.
The other night I was at a speed-friending event—yes, you read that right! Speed-friending! Who knew, right? I shall expound on that adventure next week—and Shasta Nelson, CEO of GirlfriendCircles and our evening’s MC, said something about how women need at least 5 good friends, but once you surpass 10 friends personal satisfaction actually decreases. (I can’t find the research to back this up, but such was her claim.)
Maybe the woman with “too many friends” does, truly, have too many friends. Maybe she’s so busy making time for all her deep (and local) relationships that she doesn’t have the time for herself she needs. I really can’t say. (And clearly I’m not plagued with such troubles…)
Anthropologist Robin Dunbar says we can each handle about 150 friends, but not all of them of the BFF level. Trying to give that much of yourself to too many people would be just exhausting. Even someone searching for a BFF (or five) knows that the line must be drawn somewhere.
Do you think one can have too many friends? Do you agree with Shasta Nelson’s 5 to 10 suggestion? How many BFFs do you think one person can reasonably maintain?