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What Is the Dunbar Number?

What's Your Dunbar Number?

Pop quiz: how many Facebook friends do you have right this second? OK, now question two: how many of them are actually friends or family members you're close to and interact with regularly? According to research performed in the '90s by anthropologist Robin Dunbar, that number should be somewhere around 150.

Dunbar has studied groups from ancient hunter-gatherers to GORE-TEX wet-suit factories, and in every situation, the number of meaningful relationships people are able to maintain maxes out between 100 and 200. And new research from Indiana University focused on Twitter followers reaches the same conclusion. The reason for this, Dunbar says, is that at 150 relationships, our brains stop being able to keep track, and we reach a saturation point.

The Dunbar Number isn't an exact science; the number definitely varies from group to group, and even from person to person. So, take a good look at your social network and tell me: what's your Dunbar Number?

Image Source: Getty
Join The Conversation
searching-soul searching-soul 6 years
240 friends. Many are friends of friends. Maybe about 30 or so I know personally but less than 10 are close friends.
kimmieb124 kimmieb124 6 years
164....they are all people I know personally, but there is only a handful that I talk to on a regular basis outside of FB.
Pistil Pistil 6 years
95; 10 of which are relatives, and even fewer are friends that I speak to regularly. I have room for 140 more. Who wants to be my friend?
Bettye-Wayne Bettye-Wayne 6 years
I have 29 friends, but I only see a handful of them regularly in real life.
amber512 amber512 6 years
I had no idea how many "friends" I have on FB, I had to check! 120 and probably only 1/4-1/5 of them do I converse with regularly.
postmodernsleaze postmodernsleaze 6 years
"mean the most to me on FB" are the people who also mean the most to me in real life, i.e., my best friends and siblings :)
postmodernsleaze postmodernsleaze 6 years
^ Not even close for me. I have about 115 FB friends and I can count the people who mean the most to me on FB on one hand.
xxinfinitepleasurexy xxinfinitepleasurexy 6 years
1,500 facebook friends but I really only have around 20-30 people I"m really close with.
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