Too Big, Too Small? Optimal Circle Of Friends Depends On Socioeconomic Conditions, Goldilocks

Science 2.0:

Do you prefer to have a few close friends or a larger social circle that is less deep? Social psychologists say your preference reflect your personality but also individual circumstances – like socioeconomic conditions.

Social psychologists Shigehiro Oishi of the University of Virginia and Selin Kesebir of the London Business School say that Americans may prefer a large social network, for example, because Americans move around a lot. Thus, it may make sense to spread time and resources across many friends to minimize the loss of any one friend moving away. Economic conditions at a given time are also a factor. When times are prosperous, they speculate, your friends are less likely to need much help, whether it’s covering a hospital bill or providing babysitting, and so a broad network of friends is easy to maintain. But when times aren’t as flush, having more friends might incur huge costs in terms of both time and resources.

Read the whole story: Science 2.0

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