June 5, 2011

How Connected Do We Need to Be?

So how many friends do you have on Facebook? LinkedIn? MySpace? Just how many friends do we need anyway?

Just saw a review of a new book by Robin Dunbar, How Many Friends Does One Person Need? Dunbar’s Number and Other Evolutionary Quirks(Harvard University Press, 2010. 312 pp.). I was feeling pretty bad about myself. However it seems that I'm pretty much like most everyone else. According to Dunbar, the most close friends we can stand is 3-4. Yes, stand. Dunbar gives reasons based on evolutionary psychology. My thinking is based only on my experience--3 or 4 is all I possibly have time for.

In these times, with family, work, church, community activities, I really don't have time to be as good a friend as I want to be to anyone. Just today, I decided to turn over a new leaf and stop complaining that I have too little time, so I called a friend and set up a dinner for next week.

Yesterday, I attended a wedding and was amazed that the newlyweds had both grown up in the same city and will continue to live here. Both families are respected in our community and are known by lots of people here. I have to admit, I was a little envious. We've lived in lots of places and our daughters made friends all over, but I always feared that they would not have a sense of rootedness.

Moving also effected my efforts to stay in close touch with good friends over the years. We all have good intentions, but long-distance friendships are tough to maintain. So I hope you take advantage of social networks, blogs, as well as opportunities even at Annual Conference.

Have about you? How connected to friends are you and how connected do you need to be?

Grace, Kathy
Clarksville, TN

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