We may all have hundreds of friends and followers on social media, but when it comes down it, one study suggests we would only tell a handful of them our secrets.
According to recent research from Oxford University, although the average Facebook user has 155 friends, they would only trust four of them, the Telegraph reports.
The survey, which was published the journal Royal Society Open Science, asked questions of more than 3,300 social media users to see if using these sites was equivalent to having more friends.
"No amount of social media will prevent a friend eventually becoming ‘just another acquaintance’ if you don’t meet face-to-face from time to time." — Professor Robin Dunbar
"Social media certainly helps to slow down the natural rate of decay in relationship quality that would set in once we cannot readily meet friends face-to-face," said professor Robin Dunbar in a statement.
He adds, however, this doesn't mean sites like Facebook are the key to a lasting friendship.
"But no amount of social media will prevent a friend eventually becoming ‘just another acquaintance’ if you don’t meet face-to-face from time to time."
The survey found women had more friends than men on Facebook, while older generations had fewer friends than younger generations. And depending on the amount of friends participants had — we all know those people with 4,000 to 5,000 Facebook friends — when asked how many friends they would turn to during a crisis, the magic number was four to 14 (four being the average).
This makes sense — another 2011 study showed most Americans have only two true friends. Other research from Dunbar in 2014 suggests even though most of us may know up to 150 people, when it comes down to it, 15 are intimate and only five are trustworthy, Esquire notes.
One thing Oxford researchers do suggest is making more time to see your friends face-to-face, and not just "like" or comment on their posts online. And since it is a new year, it may be time to start opening up your schedule for those "close" friends of yours.
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