People! How Many Do We Really Need In Our Lives?

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.

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43 thoughts on “People! How Many Do We Really Need In Our Lives?

  1. I’m also curious what “complete” means 😅
    I have my hubby and I’m also ok with being with me only…yes, we meet every now and then with friends but is not really a must for me…
    100 friends? 😂🤣 yeah, that’s hilarious 😆

    1. Hey Ribana, yes the complete gets me too – like okay, what is that supposed to mean then l think.

      Also the 100 friends made me double take and think WHAT?? Are these people insane? 100 friends in real time – when is a person supposed to live life?

      🙂

      1. I guess each of us, we have a different meaning for “complete”, but to be frank I’ve never thought what it means for me to have a complete life 😅
        I really don’t think it is genuinely possible to have 100 friends in real time, honestly…

  2. I need my immediate family, my four childhood friends, my few mature life friends and of course my online tribe from WordPress. All together perhaps less than 30 people, real-life and virtual combined. I cannot handle more than this. For one, I won’t remember their names!

    1. I think 30 even including the virtual is a lot Sadje 🙂 Well done.

      With 100 l would remember faces but struggle with names past the 50 mark and probably end up with a lot of Oy You’s 🙂

  3. As the joke goes: a friend might help you move house but only a real friend will help you move a body.

    I don’t know if I could put a number on it. Between 1 and 100. 😆

  4. Well… first, I have my 2 daughters, their husbands (1 each), and 2 grands. I do miss them when I haven’t seen them for a while, though my girls and I text daily. I have 3 close female friends, and maybe 8 good friends, male and female, besides the 3 close ones. I know lots more people and enjoy their company, but they’re more like acquaintances. I am in occasional contact with my bestie from high school and she is in a different category ~ someone I love but never see, yet whenever we chat it’s like no time has passed and I’d tell her anything. I do not consider most of my pile of FB “friends” to be real friends, but a few are, even though we haven’t met. Same goes for some bloggy peeps.

    Do I get lonely? Yes, but it takes a long time. Forex, I was fine for a month of lockdown and isolation with no one to talk to in person. I enjoyed it! Well, except for the fear of covid yada. But after a month I became lonely for more than WP comment threads, so I rejoined FB and reconnected with peeps, mostly writers. It really helped.

    I don’t need to be with people as much as the average, it seems, not even as much as the average introvert. I can happily go a few weeks with no social plans, just read and watch TV. Others I know (who call themselves introverts) need social plans every week or even every couple days. I don’t live alone, so the few minutes I spend daily chatting with my roomie is often enough interaction. I mostly work alone and often talk to no one, which is usually fine, but when a coworker comes in, that’s nice too.

  5. 🤔 Truthfully speaking, I do not need many people in my life, Rory.

    However, I am quite capable of interacting with a large crowd effectively.

  6. I don’t think the number of people matters that much. Each person has their own social support needs, and different relationships may meet different portions of those needs. The portion of those needs met by a given individual would depend on the nature of the relationship. For people who meet their esteem needs primarily externally rather than internally, and don’t have individuals in their lives that meet large portions of those esteem needs, they might seek large numbers of people online to each meet eensy-weensy bits of those esteem needs.

    I find it interesting that you don’t believe in loneliness as a thing. To me, loneliness is an inner experience that arises when one’s social support needs (whatever those happen to be) aren’t met, regardless of how many warm bodies happen to be in the vicinity.

    1. You and l see loneliness only differently because we are viewing it albeit on the same page Ashley, but upside down starting from the bottom and working up to right side and working down.

      l see loneliness as something that is confused with aloneness a lot – l see things as a mindset, a choice and a belief.

      Many people hold the belief they are lonely, and l believe many people are not lonely, but just believe they are because they see being alone as being lonely when the reality is they seek the comfort from one person/certain people and when they are not present, they believe themselves to be lonely.

      In other words their ‘social’ needs are not being met.

      We may appear to be talking a different language but l see a similarity here in thinking.

      1. It still makes no sense to me to believe or not believe someone’s subjective inner experience, whether that’s loneliness or anything else. If someone feels it, they feel it.

        1. it’s all down to opinion.

          I am not saying it doesn’t exist for people, l am simply saying l personally don’t believe in loneliness being a thing.

          People believe what they need to and what gets them through, it’s their choice. But loneliness always comes down to a mindset.

          My mindset is it doesn’t exist the way some believe it to be and others will always disagree that it does.

          That’s choice and belief and mindset.

          Suze gets lonely and l asked her to elaborate on that only this afternoon and when l asked her why she was lonely, she said that she felt alone many a time in her life. i argued, but that is aloneness, why did you believe yourself to be lonely?

          “Because l didn’t have the person there l wanted there so l could share life with them’.

          I understood what she was saying, but for me l didn’t see that as being lonely, only alone.

        2. But just because loneliness isn’t a feeling that you experience doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist. Someone might feel shame when you think they have nothing to be ashamed of, but that doesn’t mean their shame isn’t real.

        3. Well we are discussing opinions Ashley and that is where ‘experiences’ differ.

          I don’t believe in God, many do. I do not believe God exists. Many do. But God in my opinion doesn’t exist. To others my opinion is wrong, to me my opinion is right.

          It’s always down to belief, mindset, choice.

          Just because l personally don’t believe in God and cannot under any circumstances see the existence as being real doesn’t matter, because someone else holds the opinion that God is real.

          So, l don’t believe in loneliness, others do – but just as we are curious about those that believe in God and religion so too are we curious about other beliefs people hold.

          That’s all l am saying – with Suze and her loneliness it doesn’t matter that l don’t believe in it, what matters is that l try and help her through it.

          If that means she no longer feels lonely or alone or she changes her opinion, it always comes down to personal opinions.

          The same can be said for many beliefs and not every belief is considered factual by others,

          All l am saying with loneliness is l don’t believe in it.

  7. Great question and I learned so much about verts. 😎 I definitely need more than 100 people in my life if we are counting the postal carrier, the workers at Mod Pizza and Tapatios, the hiking groups, running partners, my various dentists and doctors, the 15 others I play in Hearts tournaments twice a year, the 13 others in my Fantasy Football league, and so on. I am also part of a very large family and my wife is too. We still have reunions with the old Babysitting Co-op gang from bygone days. I expect I could do fine without many of these people but generally they add a wonderful variety of experiences to my life.

    1. Sorry it went through while incomplete. I have very few friends, true friends. I have only two people I see on occasion. I have a few wonderful friends that I talk to frequently. The miles between us has not hampered the depth of our friendship. I had plans of going to sewing meet-ups post retirement. I also wanted to take some classes at the local junior college to be around people. ( Seniors can take free classes at the junior college) Now with the pandemic I do feel isolated. Phone calls help a great deal. I wouldn’t say I even have 10 close contacts. Hopefully, in the future I will be able to see real people in the future.

        1. I feel lonely only when I can’t talk to anybody for long periods of time. I like my own company. I like my crafts and gardening time. We finally are having the much needed rain. I need sunshine. I get depressed and lonely without the sun. I need a new S.A.D. Lamp to help with this affliction.

        2. So combined with SAD, which from memory November and February are your worse months yes? Although l guess the darker nights don’t help. But do you find that the lamp helps? Have you tried to get through a season with no lamp?

          As long as you can get out during the day for a walk or in the garden does that not reduce your need for the lamp?

          Suze has SAD and she is managing to get through without the lamp this year, so l am naturally curious how others fare if no lamp?

        3. It is an issue of needing sunshine for me. It isn’t tied to months for me.
          I haven’t used a lamp in years. We have so little rain, I can go outside even if it is cold. With the wonderful repeated days of rain we are finally being gifted by the rain G-ds, my SAD is acting up. Luckily, I realize the cause of the deep sadness. I see the lamp as a healthy alternative to meds.

  8. You know my answer 😂
    I can add that I have felt more alone while surrounded by people who didn’t understand me, than I’ve ever felt being by myself, but knowing I could contact people I’ve never seen in person that totally “get” me.

    1. Hey Gramma, and that is the difference, having the right people in your life. Quality not quantity.

      There have been times in my life when l have felt alone, but never lonely. Someone once said that the autism allows us to perceive that differently – l don’t know about that as there are many people on and off spectrum that feel exactly the same way as l do about things and people.

      What l do know is that l simply don’t experience it – BUT l do know being alone.

  9. I don’t need a lot of friends and do well on my own but like, Renard, I can mingle with a large group easily. With that said, I am most grateful for my hubby and he is my best friend. 100 friends makes me think of a few LinkedIn folks that have 10,000 followers. Really!

  10. How many people do you really need in your life to feel complete? One. One plus dog. That ‘completes’ me just fine TYVM. Happy Holidays Rory!!

  11. No, I don’t get lonely, nor do I mind being alone. And, yes, I also feel loneliness is a choice, s/a happiness. As for friends, have never felt the need to belong to social groups, or been attracted by large social gatherings. My closest friends and relationships have always been family, with a few rare exceptions. 😊

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