How many friends do you need?

How many friends do you need? Having a clear idea of that, will interestingly enough play an impact on your social abilities.


With the rise of Facebook and social media, this has led to some people becoming obsessed with increasing their Facebook friend count. They want to show they have more friends than others.

Becoming Facebook friends with people you like or think may help you in the future, is actually a good idea.

Facebook is an amazing tool to help your social life when used correctly. You can keep in touch with so many people through it!

Having a lot of Facebook friends, if you connect with these people, or encountered them in your journey in life, or for whatever appropriate reason, is not a bad thing.

But when you decide to just have a lot of Facebook friends for the sake of it. When you want to have a high Facebook friend count just to impress others, then that is when you are making a mistake.

If you want to have a thousand Facebook friends, or have thousands of Facebook friends, just for popularity, you are wasting your time and mental energy.


I know people who run businesses or produce music videos and movies. They aim to have thousands of Facebook friends or followers as it helps them get closer to achieving their purpose, or earn a living. I understand why they do it. I agree that for them building a big Facebook friend list is a smart strategy. This will help them when it comes time to market or promote their products or themselves.

But for the average person, who stands to gain nothing from having a big Facebook friend list of thousands of people, I need to ask you why are you doing it? I need you to ask yourself that question. And I need you to be honest with yourself.

You do not need to tell me or other people why you feel the need to have so many friends on Facebook. But you do need to tell yourself and be honest with yourself.

Because I can tell you right now, for most of you, aiming to have a thousand friends is not a healthy or worthwhile goal.

You can do it, but it will take up a lot of your time, energy and effort. These are all resources that can be better invested into other areas of your life.

And as I am sure a lot of you have figured out, even with a few hundred friends on Facebook, you hardly see or know most of those people.

So when you have a thousand ‘friends’ on Facebook, are they really ‘friends’, or are they more like ‘random strangers’ and ‘acquaintances’?

Having a lot of friends on Facebook does not mean anything. I question whether a lot of them can even be considered friends in the traditional sense.

How many friends do you need if nobody thinks about you
800 Facebook friends, but nobody wished me Happy Birthday.


I define a friend generally as someone that you can catch up with in the real world. It is someone that you can actually meet in person, and have a real life interaction with.

Some people claim a friend can be someone that they have never met in real life. I have heard of people making friends with people across the world that they have never met in real life, and have relied on for emotional support and advice. While I do not want to discredit this, I personally do not encourage nor recommend such type of friendships. We never know who the other person is, and with the rise of cyber crimes, it is safer to avoid such risky friendships. Your safety comes first, above all else. You never know who the stranger you are talking to on the other side of the internet is.

Hence, I stick to my definition of a friend being someone that you meet in person and can have real-life interactions with. A friend is someone who wants to catch up with you and spend time with you, and you want to spend time with them.

A friend is not someone you met and added to Facebook on a Saturday night. Then for the next three years you never speak to each other. You have no recollection of how and why you two ended up on each other’s Facebook friend list. One fine day, one of you decides to unfriend the other. This then spells the end of the greatest friendship story on earth.

That is not a friend.

Using Facebook can help your friendships with people and make it easier to have more real-life interactions with friends. But it does not replace real friends in the real world. Do not become obsessed with collecting followers on Facebook.

I have so many followers, but how many are friends
Look at all the followers I have!!


Now we have established that having a lot of Facebook friends is not the answer. So what is the answer?

It is clearly not having a thousand Facebook friends.

So if it is not a thousand, is it a hundred?

Wrong. Not even close.

Believe it or not the number of friends, as in real people that you meet in real life, that most adults have, is anywhere between 0 to 30.

And 30 is a bit of a stretch. On average I would say it is much less.

A healthy goal for the number of friends someone could aim to have would be between 6 to 20 people.

These are people that want to spend time with you, and you want to spend time with them.

These are people you can see now, or within the relative near future.

I have been giving advice on conversation and making friends for years. One common theme I see is people believing they need to have plenty of friends and be popular.

Why? I have no definitive answer. Maybe it is low self-esteem. Maybe they are still caught up in the high school mindset of trying to be popular. Or maybe they have fallen for the fad of our generation of wanting to show off their social life at the expense of concentrating on other areas of their life.

I have never tried to research and understand the reasons people think they should have more friends than they need. Although one day I might do it.

But the fact of the matter is, the older you get, the less spare time you will have. If you are working eight hours a day, and when you come home it is evening and you have to make dinner, then on weekends you have to do the house chores like laundry, cleaning the house, grocery shopping, etc; you just do not have the time to have a busy social life.

And for those of you who do choose to have children, the amount of spare time you have drops significantly more.

The older you get, the less time you will have to maintain your social life and have a lot of friends.

Hence, I fail to understand why some people set themselves the unrealistic goal of wanting to be really popular and have plenty of friends. Especially considering how unreasonable it is.

When you need a lot of friends
If an ostrich can have a lot of friends, then I can too!!


Wanting to be popular, and wanting to have a lot of people like you, can interestingly enough, lead to the exact opposite happening.

When you want everyone you meet to like you, you try too hard to impress them. You become afraid of getting rejected and become nervous around people. You also do other types of behavior that leads to people not liking you. Your body language, ability to think of what to say, and other factors get altered drastically, and people end up liking you less instead.

Trying too hard to get people to like you leads to people not liking you.

Which is exactly why I tell people that aiming to be popular is a bad idea.

Wanting to have everyone like you, wanting to have more friends than other people, wanting to be the most popular person; are all unhealthy goals that make socializing harder than it should be.

Get the idea out of your head of wanting to have too many friends.

Realize that not everyone will like you, and not everyone will be your friend. And this is okay.

If you do end up becoming popular and have plenty of friends, that is all well and good. But it should not be your main goal.

And if it does not happen, and you never become popular, it does not matter either. Life is not about being popular.

Some people who learn to improve their social skills mistakenly start to think being popular is the goal of life. They get trapped in a never-ending cycle of trying to make more and more friends. They are never satisfied with the number of friends they have, because they are unfortunately measuring their self-worth by the number of their friends. This will lead to unhappiness in the long run when you allow this to affect your self-esteem.

The aim of improving your social skills is so you can make a few friends, and have enough friends. But it is not to have too many friends and waste your life in a never-ending quest to make more and more friends.


Too many friends is not the aim of life, nor is it realistic.

While it varies for everyone, if you are not sure how many friends to have, I suggest aiming to make between 6 to 20 friends, because this is a more realistic goal for most people. And aiming as such will also not cause you to fall into the trap of wanting everyone to like you. Or trying too hard to make friends and failing because of it. Ironically, being okay with not having everyone like you or having a lot of friends, can actually lead to you making more friends.

If you want to have more (or less) than this, that is okay. But you need to ask yourself why do you want to do so, and you need to be completely honest with yourself on this. There is no exact answer on how many friends you should have, and it is different for everyone. But as long as you are honest with yourself, and you want it for the correct reasons, that is a fairly good indication you are on the right track.

If you do end up with more than 20 people that want to be your friend, and you are happy with them, then there is no reason not to have them as friends. But don’t be that person that wants to have 100 friends just so you can show off to others.

Don’t make the mistake of wanting to be popular for the sake of being popular. It will not fill whatever hole you feel within yourself.

I am speaking from experience.

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