I talked to friends the other day, and we discussed how many people we truly need in our lives to feel … complete, l guess?
I responded with l needed very few people, really. Whilst l am social, l am not overly social. I am not a full-on introvert nor an extrovert, l am, as l joke, a selectivevert, but the reality is l am more of an ambivert. I sit in the middle of all the verts. I can ooh er missus! Swing both ways when it comes to being social; l am neither lost without it nor found with it. It just is what it is.
I am happy with my own companionship and quite often prefer it over being close to people. Equally, as much as it is nice to have a virtual community to interact with, l of late have been reducing that down significantly and not because l am turning introvert, but purely because l would rather have quality interaction over quantity interaction.
I easily remember the days when l lived in the caravan between 2009 – 2012 out on the Fens in Lincolnshire. I lived there with my two dogs, Scrappy and Dora and my job was as a part-time stable manager and dog babysitter for my landlords. My caravan was right at the back of the do-it-yourself stables, and if people didn’t know l was there, they wouldn’t know l was there so hidden was l.
I never got lonely, but l don’t get lonely because l don’t believe in loneliness as a thing anyway. I understood being alone, which is very different, but l loved living by myself and my dogs away from people.
I remember thinking last year that the overly social people would seriously suffer from the arrival of covid because they would suddenly find themselves in the world of isolation, something the needy people simply can’t stand. They can’t stand their own company enough, sadly.
But the discussion did make me think. Suze needs people in her life. She needs her family and her friends. Luckily, she has friends and family close by, although she doesn’t have a community or her own tribe. She has me as the significant friend and l her, although she conceded recently that she knows l could cope by myself if she wasn’t here, which is true. She doesn’t understand at times that just because l can manage ‘Doesn’t mean l always enjoy it. But if l found me by myself, then that would be okay to live with also.”
I don’t have family close by, aside from Suze.
There are four primary levels of friendship – intimate, close, casual and acquaintances. I tried to think if l had friends in all sectors? I guess l do – l have one intimate with Suze, two close friends albeit distant, a dozen casual friends and several acquaintances and l also have a virtual community should l need it.
I read that we need to have as adults between three to five close friends and that number could make our life complete [although l would ask anyone to define complete], although only having a couple of best friends has the same effect. But also, this article was saying that we could handle above 100 friends, which l found highly comical. Still, l guess it is no different to the ol’ onion layering system, my autistic six or even the dartboard community system as in outer circles of friendship and what we need and can comfortably maintain.
I struggle to maintain more than l think is needed. For me, less is more. For others, more is more, and for others still, they can never have enough friends or contacts. We only have to look at Facebook as an example where some people seemingly believe that the more connections they have, the more friends they have.
I have a friend on Facebook that craves popularity. He is a funny guy and can make people laugh. According to him, he has well over 1000 contacts and are all friends. It baffles me most of the time, if honest. It baffles me when l see other Facebook accounts or social media accounts that are not educational or business or charitable and why people feel the need to have so many people.
For me, l need only a manageable handful, any more than that, and it’s an unwanted crowd. But that’s me, what about you?
How many people do you really need in your life to feel complete?
Let me know below.