What should I think of my friends

Finding True Friends: Who Really Belongs To?

Real friends are priceless. That's why we usually don't have too many of them: They stay friends for a lifetime - regardless of how well we are, how successful we are, what we can do for them. They are always there, especially when we need them most. And in contrast to our relatives, we can still choose them! True friends who make life easier, better, more worth living. But how many of our supposed friends are really our friends? Or to put it another way: What do you think: How many true friends do you have? … Not correct! There are significantly less ...

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

Lots of true friends? Often just wishful thinking!

“Friends” - when do you start to call them that? Or to put it another way: When do good acquaintances become true friends? When Nobel Laureate Jeffrey A. Hall took a closer look, he found:

  • It takes around 50 hours together to go from being an “acquaintance” to being a “friend”.
  • Another 90 hours were needed to switch from “friend” to “good friend”.
  • A total of 200 hours of being together were required for them to become “best friends”.

The real time together was crucial. Online chats or emails had little or no influence. “Friends” or “best friends” (or “true friends”) have to spend time together, both physically and physically.

Unfortunately, this is often less than we think. The study results by researchers from Tel Aviv University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) are sobering: According to them, the number of our friends is shockingly small. To do this, imagine how many people you would call “true friends” - then divide that number by two. Voilá, you really have that many friends!

Only half of the people we count as friends would say the same about us, say the scientists. Friendship, says study author Erez Shmueli, is often not based on reciprocity. In fact, the proportion of mutual friendships regularly fluctuates between 34 and 53 percent.

The results suggest that we have difficulty making true friends. Perhaps it has to do with the fact that the possibility of one-sided friendship scratches our self-image.

Dunbar Number: We don't have more than 200 friends

Thanks to social media such as Facebook, Instagram or Linkedin, we have many “fans” or “followers” ​​today. But there won't be more friends. Years ago, studies by the psychologist Robin Dunbar from Oxford University in the UK came to the conclusion that we cannot have more than 200 friends. According to the studies, the average number of so-called “friends” was between 155 and 183, with women tending to have more acquaintances than men.

When Bruno Gonçalves from Indiana University evaluated around 380 million tweets for six months, he found that the number of contacts there hovered between 100 and 200 people. In technical jargon, this is also called the “social brain hypothesis”: According to this, our brain is limited to maintaining and processing no more than around 200 relationships.

We lose friends every 7 years

In addition, every seven years we lose around half of our closest contacts. This is what the Dutch sociologist Gerald Mollenhorst determined. For his long-term study, the researcher evaluated more than 1000 data sets. Result: Only about 30 percent of the friends of yore were still in the same close relationship after seven years. A mere 48 percent were still friends at all. The rest was a completely new circle of friends.

You can recognize true friends ... for example by them

Unfortunately, we often only recognize true friends in an emergency. Then when you really need it. However, there are already some indications beforehand as to whether our “friends” are true or false friends. You can find nine of these signs in the following striking graphics:

Good friends: 7 important people in life

"Show me your friends - and I'll tell you who you are!" - You know the bon mot. But it is also true: with the people we surround ourselves with, we decide what could become of us. Let's be honest: There are people with an infectious character: They slow us down, pull us down - because they don't know better themselves or can't indulge them. And there are others: encouragers, advisors, supporters, ... true friends, with whom and with whom one can grow.

At least 7 of them come to mind that we should surround ourselves with (more). This time we have formulated the typologies consistently female - but that does not mean that there are not male friends too ...

  1. The inspiring one

    It always gives you the feeling: Everything is possible! And she also supports the wildest dreams and ideas with further suggestions and suggestions. Everyone needs at least one private muse.

  2. The honest one

    It expresses what others only think. Loving, but tough on the matter. This makes it a kind of corrective to the inspirational. And you should never take her frank words personally or even blame. She only means well.

  3. The accomplice

    Sometimes you not only need support in spirit, but also in action. Friends with whom you can go through thick and thin or steal horses. They never let you down and are there when you need them - without expecting anything in return.

  4. The optimist

    Yes, she is a dreamer and likes to look through rose-colored glasses. At first glance this may seem naive, but at second glance someone like that helps enormously in seeing the good, the positive sides, the opportunities that we otherwise tend to overlook with our doubts and fears.

  5. The unconditional

    She accepts you for who you are - with all the quirks and flaws we all have. She is a reliable partner, a perfect host, with whom we simply feel comfortable and can relax. And just be who we are.

  6. The comedian

    Humor makes life more beautiful. It's good to have someone by your side who is not only up for fun, but also knows how to defuse difficult situations with a smile or a sense of humor. Somebody like that makes lemonade when you throw lemons to him or her. And it helps to find laughter again, even if you think there is nothing more to laugh about.

  7. The listener

    She always has an open ear - because she really cares about you. It lets you complete a sentence, even if you are still struggling for words. And she asks good questions that get your thoughts back on track. Good listeners don't have to say much, but when they have something to say, listen for yourself.

PS: Typologies are always exaggerated, which rarely occur in this pure form. It is more likely that good friends will have multiple roles, perhaps all of them at the same time. But none of them should be missing in the circle of friends.

Friends increase feelings of joy

Anyone who experiences something beautiful is happy to pass it on. Friends above all. How they react, in turn, has a major impact on our feelings of joy, according to a study by Meliksah Demir from Arizona State University. Imagine you got a raise and you tell a friend about it. Four reactions are now conceivable:

  • Active-constructive: "That's great. I'm so happy for you."
  • Behavior-constructive: "Oh nice."
  • Active-destructive: "Finally a raise, but it could have been higher."
  • Passive-destructive: "Aha. Incidentally, I've just bought a new smartphone! "

You can guess what this is going to lead to: the studies showed that the warm-hearted answers from friends made people much happier and strengthened friendship.

11 things for which we thank friends far too seldom

Speaking of good friends, how often do you say thank you to your friends? For example, just for being your friends? Gratitude begins in the head. Every now and then you have to verbalize them in order to cultivate a friendship. True friendships work without many words. But showing the other person occasionally what he or she means to you hasn't hurt a relationship. So the next time you meet a good friend, just say "Thank you" - for example like this:

  1. "Thank you for being selfless!"
    Perhaps that's what makes true friends best: They don't count up. If you do us a favor, you usually speculate on getting something good from us. Friends not. And they never remind us of it, even subtly.
  2. "Thank you for always being honest with me!"
    Even when we may not want to hear the truth at all. Of course, a friend doesn't say that to hurt us, but to draw our attention to blind spots, motto: "I see what you can't see ..." And he holds up a useful mirror in front of us that protects us from take off or make wrong decisions.
  3. "Thank you for thinking of me!"
    Let's be honest: When did you email, text, or write a little greeting to a friend? Just because. A short “I'm thinking of you right now” is enough. Soul mate friends even have a downright seventh sense of when we are feeling bad - and contact us. And that is enormously uplifting: to know someone cares about you!
  4. "Thank you for challenging me!"
    A good friend is far from saying yes. Sometimes he also has the essence of a veritable ass-kick, who kicks us out of our comfort zones and encourages us to make more of ourselves. And reminds us again and again of our former goals - even if that can be really annoying - it's only for our best.
  5. "Thank you for not judging me!"
    It is a misconception that good friends always have to agree or that everything is equally good. Then they could never have a corrective effect. But there is a difference between “judging” and “judging”. Only true friends can realize that you see and evaluate it differently and leave it that way. The rest evaluates and devalues ​​you.
  6. "Thank you for not being resentful!"
    Mistakes are made in friendships too - on both sides. It always takes two to argue. Then there is a discussion, arguments change back and forth, maybe a few ugly words. At some point, when the minds have calmed down, both get along and forgive each other again. The trick is then not only to forgive, but also to forget and not be resentful. True friends can.
  7. "Thank you for remaining loyal to me!"
    This is another characteristic of good friends: Sometimes you move and go far away. Acquaintances then change, friends stay and keep in touch. What's more, when you meet again it feels like you've never been away. Friendships can last for decades.
  8. "Thank you for standing by me!"
    In good and in bad times. The first is easy, of course, so true friendship is only revealed in the second test: If others stand up against us, if we don't succeed, or if we maybe even made a bad mistake, then you can still rely on your friends - and if necessary they will defend us, protect ourselves or at least know good advice on how to put everything back into place.
  9. "Thank you for always cheering me up!"
    We all have a bad day, sometimes it lasts for 72 hours. Good friends make sure that it doesn't get that far in the first place. They know us well and know what we need at the moment - the right words, an open ear and a cup of coffee, for example.
  10. "Thanks for being as crazy as me!"
    Are not we all a little bit Bluna? Just. But good friends also work just like us. You can also do spontaneous nonsense with them - and enjoy every second of it. Even the common hangover the morning after.
  11. "Thank you for being YOU!"
    Very clear and simple.

Lack of friends: that's how dangerous it looks

Having few or no friends has a huge negative impact on our health. There is also a remarkable study by the psychologist Julianne Holt-Lunstead of Brigham Young University. According to their research, few social contacts are as harmful to health as inhaling 15 cigarettes a day. Conversely, people with resilient friendships increased their life expectancy by 50 percent. In addition, positive people in the social environment would increase perceived happiness by a full 15 percent, while negative people cost up to seven percent life satisfaction. And a really good friend, whom you see almost every day, makes you as happy as a salary of around 90,000 euros.

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[Photo Credit: Hrynevich Katsiaryna by Shutterstock.com]
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November 25, 2020Author: Jochen Mai

Jochen Mai is the founder and editor-in-chief of the career bible. The author of several books lectures at the TH Köln and is a sought-after keynote speaker, coach and consultant.

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