How many people do you really (need to) know?

Earlier this week I started to get some spam messages from people on LinkedIn. Inappropriate one’s too – and I realised that these ‘connections’ were not actually people I knew.

So I decided to have a clear out – and deleted a number of ‘friends’ or ‘contacts’ who I couldn’t remember meeting … ever!

I use Facebook a little, but only really for some family members who are not in and around Nottingham, together with my squash friends. I don’t have lots of connections (some would say not many friends).

There is a theory about how many people we can actually know. Robin Dunbar lays claim to the Dunbar Number – he theorised about this very subject.

He says that our group of friends usually consist of an inner circle of five “core” people and an additional layer of 10. That makes 15 people who are your central group (some will probably be family members). Then outside that, there’s another 35 in the next ‘circle’ and another 100 on the outside.

And that’s one person’s social world. So in total his argument is that we can only really know 150 people.

I guess it is different when you mix in work as some of my client’s are genuinely friends too – they may be ‘business friends’, but I regard them as more than clients.

So when I add together the people who I am connected to on LinkedIn and Facebook – and add in my address book, I am wondering who on earth these other 1300 people are!

More thinning out needed?

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