Every so often I set out to "make the rounds" and see my friends who are spread across the country. I'm a bit of a nomad and yet its often my return that triggers close friends to see each other when they live minutes away. Just pick up the phone and call someone from time to time, let them know you give a shit. It's amazing what a phone call once a month and a visit once a year can do to sustain a meaningful relationship with someone.
People are, on average, terrible at staying in touch with one another. Be the outlier, you'll make the world a better place.
If you want to develop new friendships I'd say find hobbies where you might find interesting people. Some hobbies tend to have more welcoming communities than others, climbing gyms being one of the better environments I've come across for meeting new people.
I play badminton, and I've occasionally played ultimate frisbee, and both have a great inclusiveness culture, at least in Colorado, Washington, Texas, and California, the places I've variously played. Much of my current group of friends that I haven't met through geek-oriented meetups I met playing badminton.
I also used to play volleyball, but ... well, too many jerks turned me off. Now I only play with friends at parties.
It's worth emphasizing that making new friends takes time. It was a year before I felt I had good local friends after moving to Colorado, and 2-4 years before I was doing things with them outside of our original meeting group. It probably could be done faster -- I suck at the whole social thing -- but for the poster above who claimed to be stuck at zero: Put in the time, do the work, take a chance by reaching out, and you can build friendships.
ALSO: Watch this TED talk:
New relationships require for you to put yourself in a position where you meet new people. It also requires for you to have opportunities for people to hang out with you.
I don't have a perfect solution, but I've found a few tricks. I've found that clubs and volunteer events tend to be full of friendly people who will introduce themselves. It also helps me socialize with new people when no one else knows each other.
The optimal number of friends when we were hunter gatherers might have been 150, but the optimal number of friends for a developer who gets asked to do work by a new person every week and contacted by a recruiter twice a day and doesn't have much use for any friends beyond graphics designers is probably much less.
If you don't see any inherent value in having people to talk to, experience things with, and in general unwind with than you are either young and naive or a totally different animal than most of your fellow humans. In the latter case, feel free to disregard my message as it doesn't apply to you but if you are are in the former camp, I'd recommend you think long and hard about how you value people in your life.
Why can't we just let things happen naturally? Why does there have to be a formulaic approach to everything? Why do you need to be an outlier? Why can't people just be normal?
What weight you give this depends on your definition of "supposed to", I suppose; personally, it's been greatly rewarding for me to maintain my friendships, some of which are almost as old as I am.
My wife seems to be quite good at making friends, because she invests a large % of her time and energy in socializing, and I feel like it is slightly less awkward for a female to invite female coworkers out to do something than it is for male coworkers (feel free to rebut me here). Fortunately, many of her friends have SO's that I've become friendly with, and we have a variety of "couple friends" we do group activities with where she also frequently hangs out with the female half of that equation 1:1.
I on the other hand have multiple hobbies, am working on teaching myself to code, and am constantly teaching myself new things (for example, I was brushing up on multivariable regression analysis at 1am in bed). I barely have time for this as it is without adding socialization to the mix, but I feel like I get more fulfillment out of my current approach. I've certainly learned more as a result.
I'm also an introvert. I can be very social and likable in the moment, but making new friends and the simple act of socializing is draining vs. my other solo activities which replenish my reserves.
Seriously, I'd love to know how people strike that balance and how they make new friends/maintain existing ones without constantly running on empty from the time and energy it takes to do so.
At the end of the day I think it's socialising with those close to you, your 15 or so friends when you can and then the extended friends are those that are either spending time with you because their friends of a friend or something along the line, thus your spending time with them as well.
Another interesting point would be spending time with friends doing hobbies, for example I'll plan a hike and go with my friend because we both share that hobby, then on top of that is the option to bring my camera because it's a hobby I enjoy. But for less social hobbies I figure their better to be done during the week or when you don't have any plans for your spare time.
Introversion to me is more about how I recharge. If I am interacting with someone else, it takes energy to do so. If I was an extrovert, such an experience might replenish my energy. Instead, I recharge by being alone and solo activities.
So when I reference introversion, it was more in regards to how I recharge, not my level of social skills.
And I thought I was doing well with 4 casual friends and one close friend.
I have a feeling we may be in a community that is an outlier to "typical" social behaviors.
But I'm a genuine introvert and don't mind.
I'd say "Introverts of the world, unite!" but that would kind of defeat the purpose.
I've speculated that the 150-person limit on pre-political human group sizes is due to the limits on our attention: http://www.tjradcliffe.com/?p=1203
That speculation was based on the idea that men form groups to support each other in mate competition, but it could well also be a primary phenomenon, with 12 or 13 being the absolute upper limit of our attentional resources. That would give 150 people as the typical group size. Either way, it would be very interesting if we could tie those two magic numbers--7 and 150--together somehow.
On the contrary, I have many casual friends but 0 close friends. I'd say I'm pretty extroverted and like having a wide social circle but the lack of close friends does bother me sometimes.
Unlike other touch receptors, which operate on a loop—you touch a hot stove,
the nerves fire a signal to the brain, the brain registers pain and fires a signal
back for you to withdraw your hand—these receptors are one-way. They talk to
the brain, but the brain doesn’t communicate back. “We think that’s what they
exist for, to trigger endorphin responses as a consequence of grooming,”
Dunbar said. Until social media can replicate that touch, it can’t fully replicate
Not complaining, but it's difficult to adjust to compared to grad school.
The article reports, "On the flipside, groups can extend to five hundred, the acquaintance level," and that would suggest that my group of Facebook friends (a bit more than 700, the great majority of whom I have actually, factually met in person) is a group of acquaintances. And I'm okay with that, as they are FRIENDLY acquaintances, and they interact with one another (in many combinations of individuals who have never face-met even once) in delightful and thought-provoking ways.
I feel a lot of empathy for the younger people commenting in this thread that they feel they have few friends and few channels for meeting any new friends. That may change over time. There have been times in my life when I was much more isolated than I am now, when it would have been unbelievable that I would ever have an online network of 700-some "friends." Of course like a lot of married men, I've invested most in my relationship with my wife, and she is by far my best friend, and also a connection to other friends. I do think the article makes a good point that it's wise for each of us to enjoy some of the in-person aspects of friendship (hearing someone's voice, maybe tapping someone on the shoulder or hugging or whatever as is appropriate for the friendship) to build a connection with people that just can't be built by keystrokes sent over the Internet.
It is interesting the conclusion about the thinning of relationships and what the impacts of that are. I agree that you can likely form very strong bonds over the web but I don't think at this point they can replace actual physical interaction for the majority of people.
This one has another interesting point:
"These analyses show that while relative neocortex size is positively
correlated with female group size, it is negatively, or not at all
correlated with male group size. This indicates that the social
intelligence hypothesis only applies to female sociality."
Perhaps after a man gets married with a woman, he could shift much of
his social function of the neocrotex to his female partener, and free
up that part of the brain for some other interesting stuff...
This may explain why most of the time woman is more adept at dealing
with those sociality issues.
o | o male_1
\ | /
\ | /
\ | /
\ | /
male_6 \|/ female
/ | \
/ | \
male_5 / | \
o | o male_3
I'll put it like this... I watched a lot of TV growing up, and it has clearly shaped my imagination. If we ever had some catastrophic event after which civilised society broke down, I would have a better idea of how to navigate that world than the one we have now, which I find it easy to be disconnected from. Of course I don't want to live in a dystopia, but it's a reflection on how we connect to what we consume.
This is spot on. I was able to reliably recall passengers I'd had driving for lyft up to about 1000 rides, which is 1500 minus the "number of facebook friends I have".
For example, I definitely don't abuse my social network and groom it on a regular basis, both public and private feeds and profiles. My LinkedIn account has "only" 83 connections and my Facebook has 143. Yes, I know every single one of them. Facebook in particular has allowed me to connect with my extended family overseas so I put a lot of value into each of my posts on there, even if others choose not to. Sometimes I even translate my own posts for the sake of my non-English speaking family so as to guarantee the furthest reach of my social broadcasts.
Everyone is always happy when I reach out to them, even if it's only once a year on Facebook. I also try not to do it on the day of their birthday, on holidays, or on any special day per say as it amplifies the gesture.
I find there to be a lot of truth to the basic idea of this. But I think there is also a lot of individual variation. As I have gotten older and developed better social skills, I recognize that I am an Introvert at my core, and only care to maintain a small number of close relationships. Despite this, I am capable of being social, chatty, and sometimes even charming during social events, when I'm at my best, but I usually have no desire to maintain most of those relationships.
At the core, you have to figure out what is right for you, not what other people or society think you should want, and work towards maintaining that.
Same holds true for client relationships in IT.
After that they are just faces in the crowd, not people.
But nearly everything in the near past has to do with flouting it, creating huge institutions which absolutely, positively make Dunbar's number look like a joke.
Perhaps that is why there's a lot of trust eroding in the big institutions. When size >> Dunbar's number people have the anonymity they need to start doing less great things and get away with it.
Maybe we're just adapting ourselves to the new social environment. We forget what we don't need to survive, and we learn skills in a different form from what is considered as a "normal" in this present time.
What would you think about an application that notifies us to communicate with friends frequently?
Don't get me wrong, HN, I love you the way that you are, even if every now and then I think you could stand to lighten up a bit. But I will confess to a need to visit Reddit for some jokes and pun chains sometimes.
I assume it would adjust for introvert/ extrovert. Like others here I would find maintaining the number of relationships at those number very tiring.