Our 150 (How Do I Handle All These Friend Requests?)

 

Firesoul Teaser 2

The Firesoul has been found.


 

I’ve long been told that my inner group of friends rests upon a fragile thread and it will one day break, which may be the case. I doubt that, however. With the growing flocks of social media and having been receiving many more requests/follows on social media as of late, I’ve been drawn to the concept of Dunbar’s Number.

An anthropologist by the name of Robin Dunbar realized that people generally split off their groups once said groups reach about 150 people. Military companies, African tribes, and many more found that the essence of teamwork ends at 150 people. Past that, it was remarked, that some have a hard time working as a team.

Obviously, one would assume that this is because there are too many people to interact with and be close to. Which is a fair assessment. In high school, my friends and I bragged about the number of friends we touted across Facebook and Twitter, and some of us clung to that number more than others. When I was in middle school, I had a rather large circle of close friends online, a few of whom I’m still connected to even today.

Of course, it isn’t the same connection as those friends who’ve grown up and lived life with me.

I still think about my internet friends every so often and consider them close, but are they really? This concept that we maximize our relationship quota at 150 people states that we have a smaller group at the base, our best friends who live with us and who become the people we do life alongside. The next tier up is a ring of good friends and the next tier is acquaintances and the like, and as the rings expand the connection to these people grows thinner until, after 150 we supposedly can’t maintain the level of interaction to consider them true friends.

In a working world, this is slightly different, I know artists and authors whose connections span far more than 150 people, but they still rest at a core group who support them and rally around them and make sure they are safe and happy and living as well as they can.

With the growing presence of social media, even still, we are allowed the foreign idea that we can allow thousands of people into our friend group through Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram etc. Some would argue, like the older generation of my family for instance, that these relationships online are less real and more manufactured and groomed than the ones in real life, and yet I have a group of people who I game with nearly every day whom I find excitement and joy alongside as they conquer life and face challenges.

I think there are multiple reasons for this.

With the power of social media behind us:

  • We are allowed to be more selective of our close friends.
  • We are allowed to see people for who they really are vs. who they pretend to be.
  • We put on our own charade, and in doing so understand that others will do the same online, leading to careful consideration as to who we allow into our lives.

Dunbar’s Number isn’t a useless concept by any means, I think that there is a profound truth to it that we don’t often accept. There are only a finite number of people whom we can spend life with and keep close. However finite that number is, is anyone’s guess. The change of pace within the last thirty years has rocked the way the world works and has changed social and societal expectations.

What does all of this mean?

Well, to your friends, you may be as genuine and real as you truly are. To your contacts online, consider the reality of a feigned life that you project just as many of them do. I am guilty of it, I think all of us are. We want to be well-liked and we want to have something to talk about. That doesn’t mean that we must lose ourselves for the sake of satisfying an anthropological idea.

Be who you wish to be and be the best version of yourself that you can manage. Whether you consider your two friends the only ones you need, or you relish in the opportunity to have hundreds, the one who loses the most when you are living a false life towards another is you.

I know my core group of friends isn’t going anywhere because we share a powerful bond of love and life with one another. The same can’t be said about many of my online friends, but that doesn’t mean they are worthless. In fact, I want to grow better bonds with all of them. You can never have too many people in your corner.

Cherish the friends you have today and be sure to make more as you go on. Don’t let the world dull your light. Make the connections that our parents never could and reach out.

You never know who needs it.

Δ


 

Thank you for coming back and reading again this week. I’ve loved having you. I’ve recently started a fun little project which directly relates to the blog, so if you’re a fan you may want to take a peek over at the website these next few weeks. I’m working on some upgrades to the blog and the whole practice behind Gravity, My Enemy.

In short, since I’ve brought it up so much without giving any real clearly defined information, I got into the habit of writing things on the blog that didn’t support the message I wanted this blog to send. I allowed my writing to become fuzzy and without direction and it really bothered me. Every so often I’d have some big hits but then the next week I’d return to writing something because I had to, not posing any questions or starting conversations, or even looking at things with the positive mentality that I strive to have.

Firesoul is the start of change for all of that, and if you’ve followed this blog at all I urge you to go check it out. (Plus, when it’s all said and done I’ll be giving away some free stuff. Who doesn’t like free stuff? Shirts, Books, Mugs, maybe more. I haven’t decided all of the rewards yet, but know that there will be rewards coming.) There’s a big puzzle and it’s going to be a good time! Part One of the Firesoul puzzle is live, and if you manage to beat me to the cipher reveal, let me know and I’ll give you some goodies too. (I’ll be updating it every Thursday until it’s all said and done.)

Salt + Iron Productions: Firesoul

 

Something to keep you busy while I finish tying up the loose ends regarding my next novel publication.

For more current info, follow me on Twitter Facebook + Instagram, the latter where I spend most of my time!

-AT @alvatobiasbooks

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