You Don’t Need Lots Of Terrible Friends, You Just Need A Few Good Ones

You might have a million acquaintances, but when it comes to working through the Big Stuff, you probably only go to a select few friends you know you can really count on. While it can seem like other people out there have a much bigger social circle than you, that’s probably not the case. After all, there’s a major difference between people you get along with just fine and those you count on to have your back when crap gets real. Here are some reasons why it’s totally normal to have only a few close friends, and why they’re the only ones you need.

  1. You can only truly trust so many people. It would be crazy cool if everyone we knew was trustworthy when it comes to guarding our deepest, darkest thoughts, but it just isn’t the case. Finding a couple of friends that you’d trust with your life is actually quite an accomplishment in itself, and it’s really all that matters.
  2. You don’t have the bandwidth for big groups of people. A study published by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology in November 2014 found that it’s common to have 150 acquaintances, but that your cognitive capacity only allows for 15 close friends that you might confide in, and five best friends that you definitely will. Sounds about right.
  3. It takes time to get to know people. If none of us had jobs or lives, we’d have a lot more time for bonding, but alas, making new friends isn’t always top on our priority list when we’ve got some good one we already know really well.
  4. Quality over quantity. People tend to feel more secure having a few close friends than a ton of casual ones, thanks to better and more frequent communication. What’s the use of a group of 30 “best friends” if you can’t count on any of them?
  5. Having solid friendships keeps you healthy. People are less likely to come down with the common cold when they have good friend bonds, and some studies have even linked having these bonds to lower rates of mortality.
  6. You can only do so much texting. You know you ignore those group chats from time to time, even though those are your “friends” on there. We have to conserve energy somewhere!
  7. Your BFFs just GET you. Even if you have a best friend who you don’t see that often, when the two of you do get together, it’s seamless and fun… unlike how dramatic it can be every time you run into that casual friend at the gym. Talk about awkward.
  8. There are a lot of factors that go into intimacy. Any close friendship is going to have intimate qualities, and that sort of bond is dependent on a lot of different elements. Think about how hard it is to find the right guy – it’s not all that different with your closest girls.
  9. You’re able to let your guard down with your girls. When you hang out with newer friends – or lighter friends, shall we say – you might not want to let your guard all the way down. But with your closest few, it’s been down, so there’s nothing to think about in that regard.
  10. You can actually take their advice. Theoretically, you could ask anyone that you know for personal advice, but you probably wouldn’t want to. Your besties know your back story, your strengths, and your weaknesses, and can actually apply those things productively.
  11. A forced friendship isn’t really a friendship at all. There’s an ease with good friends that isn’t there with casual ones. Ever tried to make plans with a big group of randoms? Stressful. But you know the few that are showing up no matter what else happens.
Kate Ferguson is a Los Angeles local and freelance writer for a variety of blog and magazine genres. When she's not writing, the UC Davis graduate is focused on pursuits of the entertainment industry, spin class, and hot sauce. Look for article links, updates, (and the occasional joke) on Twitter @KateFerg or @WriterKateFerg, or check out her personal blog