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!