Having friends is good, isn’t it? But did you know that too many friends can be harmful?
A recent study tracked people aged over 50 from 13 European countries over a 2-year period to explore how many close friends in combination with social offline activities like volunteering, involvement in religious or political groups, or participating in sport or social clubs influenced their mental health.
The study found that people who have less than 3 friends, benefit the most from their social life. Their quality of life improves and they have fewer symptoms of depression. Why? Because, social activities are a way to get more friends, to find social support, and to be a part of a community.
On the other hand, people with more than 7 close friends and a busy social life turned to have an increased chance of being depressed. Why? Because if you engage in too many activities, you don’t have enough “quality time” for either your friends or social network. You are like a butterfly that touches different precious flowers without really making a connection with them. As a result of these shallow interactions, you are not really a part of any of your groups, where you can find sincere support and understanding. Besides, too much social activity becomes a stress factor, and stress is bad.
So what is the optimal number of friends in combination with the involvement in social activities?
According to the study, 4-5 close friends and being engaged in social activities once a week is enough to feel happy with a minimum chance of depression. More friends than this will not do any good.
Curious? Here is the source: