Only 3% of your Facebook friends are actual friends

What you’ve always thought deep down is now being backed up by an Oxford University professor – not all your Facebook contacts are real friends.

Research by evolutionary psychology researcher Robin Dunbar has found that we think only 3% of our Facebook ‘friends’ could be counted on in a crisis.

Professor Dunbar found that on average, we each have around 150 Facebook friends, with women typically having more than men. However, when asked how many of these the users considered as ‘genuine’ friends, the answers averaged out at 27.6% of contacts.

The Oxford professor surveyed more than 3,000 people in the 18-65 age range.

The figures then tumbled even further when those surveyed were asked how many of those friends could be counted on in a time of need – the average was 4.

“The sizes of the two inner friendship circles did not differ from those previously identified in offline samples,” said Professor Dunbar.

“Respondents who had unusually large networks did not increase the numbers of close friendships they had, but rather added more loosely defined acquaintances into their friendship circle.”

So be warned, all that extensive ‘adding’ could just clog up your newsfeed with pictures of engagement rings, babies and cats rather than create any meaningful new relationships.

About Edward Lam

Edward Lam
Co-Founder, Managing Director and Multimedia Designer at InTallaght.

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