How Many Friends Do Most People Have?
But having the right ones, that is the question.
I’ve often wondered, am I normal?
Normal, as in the number of close friends I have.
Maybe you have the same thoughts.
I did a short study on this.
Quite interesting what I came up with. See what you think.
What is the optimal number of friends for good mental health? Dr. Robin Dunbar, an evolutionary psychologist at the University of Oxford says, it is to have 3 to 5 close friends. Dr. Mark Vernon, a philosopher, psychotherapist and author of The Meaning of Friendship relates that for good health you need friends that you see face to face on a regular basis.
“Yea, I’m normal!”
We get to choose the 3 – 5 friends that make up our inner circle.
Choosing the friends that matter
Good advice is found in the book of Proverbs.
Why do we ignore instructions on this subject of choosing our inner circle of friendships? Most people believe that close friendship just evolve over time. Not so. Deep relationship require intentionality. We can draw in the ones that will have the most meaning for us while having the most benefit to our friends. It is a two way street.
The righteous should choose his friends carefully, For the way of the wicked leads them astray. (Proverbs 12:26 NKJV)
Five questions to know who your best friends really are.
1. Is this a person who can tell me the truth about me with the intent to make me a better person?
Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy. Proverbs 27: 6 (NLT)
2. Does this person give good counsel to me without sharing my inner most thoughts with others?
The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense. Proverbs 27: 9 (NLT)
3. Over the years have we been there for each other when adversity struck?
Never abandon a friend—either yours or your father’s When disaster strikes, you won’t have to ask your brother for assistance. It’s better to go to a neighbor than to a brother who lives far away. Proverbs 27: 10 (NLT)
4. When I am with this person is there a sense of optimism in our discussion?
As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend. Proverbs 27: 17 (NLT)
5. Is this person relating positive words about me to others?
The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold, And a man is valued by what others say of him. Proverbs 27: 21 (NKJ)
W. Clement Stone says:
“Be careful the environment you choose for it will shape you; be careful the friends you choose for you will become like them.”
The All Important Flip Side of Friendship
Why our friendliness matters to others
Great friends, the ones you see often in person, are vital to our good mental health. These are the ones that bring the most happiness to us.
The five questions listed above should be words that determine the way we relate to our friends. The old adage, “To have friends, one must be friendly”, rings true.
To make these questions applicable to us lets turn each into a statement.
1. I am interested in encouraging my friend
2. I am a confidential person
3. I will be there for my friend when adversity strikes
4. I bring a sense of optimism to my friend even in negative situations
5. I will always speak well of my friend to others.
In 1855 Joseph M. Scriven wrote the old hymn: What a Friend We Have In Jesus.
What a friend we have in Jesus, All our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry Everything to God in prayer!
Oh, what peace we often forfeit, Oh, what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry Everything to God in prayer!
The first verse of this hymn captures what a true friend is and what makes friends so vital to our health. When Jesus is our closest friend, being friends with others comes more naturally to us. He is a true friend.
We can deepen our friendships this week!
Read through the questions and statements again.
This is the day to be a better friend.
Always on The Richer Side of Life.
Photo credits: Unsplash-Charlie Foster (couple on bench)
Unsplash – Shlomit Wolf (Young Person on train)
I always appreciate your comments.