Friday, September 21, 2012

{Friendship Friday} Can you have too many friends? What is your comfort number?

Hey, hey, it's Friday.

And today it's a GLORIOUS Friday because not only have I taken a half day but we're going to a party and I'm going to get GORGEOUS pics (I'm speaking positively because my children ARE going to look at the camera, right?). Long story but I'm verrrry cross and I can't talk now

I remember a course I was on last year (Emotional Intelligence - did it work? :)) where one of the people said that he only has time to have 6 friends.

That's it. Any more than that and it becomes too much for him to handle so he doesn't even go out of his way to be too friendly.

I was a bit horrified.

Mainly because it felt wrong on a number of levels... for me.

But then when I read MWF Seeking BFF, she spoke about some research in the book and I wrote down what one professor said.

"If you're tending too many, you may not have time to get really close to any of them"

Kind of like a "jack of all trades, master of none".

I definitely agree with this statement and suddenly this person's 6-friends rule didn't seem so odd.

He obviously recognised that he only has capacity to tend to 6 friends and is happy/ content with his decision.

I think it's good to know your boundaries. Matter of fact, boundaries along with MotherStyles and Love Languages are some of the topics I'm most passionate about in life :)

I love random, non-posed pics like this :)
For me, I don't want to count but I have about 6 friends I consider closer (I don't actually have a BFF - is that crazy?) than others and then about 20 in wider circles (that I see in-person) and of course lots of acquaintance-type friends too.

And yes, it takes effort (I was going to write hard work but then I thought about it and it's not work, it's effort) to maintain all the real friendships, make sure that we're all seeing each other regularly enough to keep up the friendship.

But I can't say I go through life thinking I have enough and that I don't need more friends.

Because different friends fulfill different needs, right?

I have friends to go see movies/ girl things, friends with twins, friends who blog, church friends, photo friends, friends who were clients and are now just friends, etc.

What about you?

Do you have a set limit of friends? (somehow I think this guy is "unusual" but let's see)
Do you ever feel like you can't keep up with the number of friends you have? How do you deal with that?

PS are there any topics you'd like us to discuss? Tell me either in the comments or email me marcia AT the123blog DOT com

PPS have you read these posts? I ask because they got really low clicks and there's always magic in the comments :)

A reminder that it's not always about you
On being asked out
Where are you with your friend goals?
On being vulnerable in friendship


  1. Lesley6:23 pm

    I dont have a number of friends that i stick to, but i have heard that you can not really maintain more than about 5. I am in a strange place friends wise - I moved to a new country 6 years ago and left my 3 closest friends behind in the U.k. I would still consider these people my closest friends though i rarely see them. :(
    I have made friends here - but not on the same level as these 3. There is something very comforting about people who have known you all your life.
    I do sometimes find it hard to balance my time between seeing friends and the things i have to do. This week i've seen loads of people, so next week need to 'do' more 'chat' less.
    P.S I always read your friendship Fridays - love them.

  2. I don't have a number limit on my friendships. I, like you, have friends in different circles. Friends with twins, blog friends (there some overlap in those first two), friends from church, college friends, old co-worker friends, friends I've met through working out or other social events. I don't often try to mix them (I think you've written about this before). I have a friend who is most excellent at having her friends inter-mingle. I am not so great bridging gaps, and making sure everyone is comfortable. The introvert in me just doesn't do well with that.

    I'm a firm believer that sometimes friends come into our lives for a season, and that's all. Life gets busy, and there's some drifting, and that's okay. I think some of my friendships ebb and flow like that. I let that be okay, instead of feeling guilty all the time for not making enough of an effort. I can only do what I can do. :)

  3. I wouldn't say that I have a set limit of friends, but I would say that I do keep things small. I have many acquaintances and people I talk to, but as for a true friend, there are very few. I would only "make the effort" for a handful. Maybe 4? I don't go out of my way to make friends because I know I wouldn't keep up with it. If I'm too stressed keeping up with everyone, I won't be able to enjoy their company right?

  4. I always read your friendship fridays

    How many friends is enough or too much? Don't know, hard to tell, different friends fulfill different needs and it's hard to say for me at least.

    I used to have loads of very close friends but these days not so much. Like Lesley I moved countries and the one thing I have realised is when you move countries when you are much older, I think it's hard to have many friends.

    It's how you make the balance that determines if you feel "swamped" by the number of friends you have.

  5. Wow ... never really thought about it. I often go WAY overboard trying to be friendly to everybody .. and never quite succeeding.

    I have one really best friend right now, we only see each other twice a week, and sometimes barely get a word in because we are so focused on the kids. But we've been through a LOT together ... actually met her in the library the week after 9/11 - and that sometimes seems like a lifetime ago, not 11 years.

    I also consider my MIL as a best friend. I really don't know what I would do without her. Sometimes she seems more my mom than my MIL. Funny, I spent more time talking to her before I was married, than I did with dh.

    I also have a friend who makes a nice 3some with my best friend. We are all about the same age with similar aged kids and we all homeschool. She is SO outgoing and friendly - and K (my BFF) and I love her to pieces. While I wouldn't call her at 3am - she always picks up on the slightest of hints that we have a need - and is happy to help meet those needs. And it's not just us - she helps and has a LOT of friends. No matter how long it has been since we last saw each other, we just jump right in where we left off.

    I find with those 3 ... it is really easy for me to just drop everything for them and do things for them or with them.

    After that, I really don't have any closer friends - those are the ones I call if anything happens ever.

    Then I have family. My two sisters who live nearby (one only a few feet), and my Dad. I lost Mamaw to Alzheimers - she's alive, but I can't sit and talk with her like I use to. I have a few cousins and aunts that I can chat with easily (mostly) when we are together, but we don't go overly out of our way to spend time together. I have a close family - and I would do anything I could for them.

    I have church friends. We chat at church, half small talk and half news/needs type conversations. It's a very small church, under 50 some Sunday's. And many of them would be there for me (and have been) if our family needs help. But there are only 2 ladies that I feel comfortable chatting with really. My MIL and BFF also go to church with me there.

    I also have librarian friends - we always chat when we get by the library. Many have moved on or retired. We don't really keep in touch. Many of these people have known us for over a decade.

    I didn't have friends much in college or high school ... and while I keep in touch with several, exchange Christmas cards, email, and even FB. I have a really large group of FB friends, some closer than others.

    I think my biggest problem is I'm a HUGE introvert. And I don't try to push a relationship much. I'm also quite insecure as well, so I'm always afraid of offending people - ironically, people don't seem to have any problem telling me that I'm weird. Most will ask me to find information for them, research, read a book and summarize it, or sort and catalog items (things I am good at). .... Maybe I'm too self conscious of being poor and rather dumpling shaped. But then my oldest tells me it's just because I'm an INTJ and I just don't "get" people.

    Ok ... 3 seems to be my comfort level. Because I've not successfully added many past that. And maybe a dozen less close friends and relatives. And according to FB - I've got over 300 acquaintance friends.

  6. I have different friends for different things so no, there is no set number. I do occasionally struggle to keep up with them all but, if I plan my life properly then it isn't a problem.

  7. I get what that guy is saying - I dont limit the numbers but my numbers are small! It has taken me 34 years to actually get this friendship thing right! I have about 5 close friends and then lots of others who I consider friends but dont share the personal stuff with easily.

    David has a HUGE circle of friends and his best mate and I actually chatted about it yesterday and they both said it is too big BUT let me tell you the bond those boys have is something incredible - I may actually do a Friendship Friday post about it!!!!

  8. No set number for me but although I have many many friends I have very few very close friends. And I am totally fine with that too.


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