Mike the Psych's Blog

What if psychologists ruled the world? In real life?

1 new partner = 2 fewer friends


Get a date but lose a mate? Well two actually according to Robin Dunbar’s research.

He’s a social anthropologist at Oxford and I’ve quoted him before back in May in my post “So many friends but still lonely”.

He argues that when you start dating or get married you lose 2 of your friends because you no longer have time to keep in touch with them all. Hence my sceptical view of Facebook “friends”. In fact Dunbar says that bragging about how many friends you have on Facebook is typically male courtship behaviour – a mating display – as the more girls you have as friends the more attractive you are to other females. He also says that girls are more likely to have Facebook friends who really are their friends.

Dunbar believes you only have about 5 or 6 close friends, 50 we might want to invite to our wedding and maybe 150 in total that we know (the size of early settlements and military groupings if you are interested).

Dunbar also says that your five close friends don’t have to be real people and can include your pet or a favourite plant. How sad is that!


Author: mikethepsych

He says he's a psychologist but aren't we all?

2 thoughts on “1 new partner = 2 fewer friends

  1. Very efficiently written information. It will be beneficial to anyone who employess it, including yours truly :). Keep up the good work – for sure i will check out more posts.

  2. One woman who is now in her 80’s once told me that a married woman does not need friends. All the spare time a woman has should be spent with family…. I don’t think this is sad – I think this is really scary… And just today I’ve read an article in local press. It said that 60% of respondents thought marriage killed their sex life and they consider their partner more as a fiend and not as an object of their sexual desires… now that is sad