(click on pictures to enlarge)
No it’s not the F word that normally springs to mind though it has come to my mind frequently in recent times! I’m thinking of F for family and friends. With Fidz being ill, the past few weeks have been difficult for us and I really don’t know how we would have managed without the support of family and friends. From bringing us food, to driving us around, to just being there when we need them, they’ve all made time to help out. We take it for granted that our family will help us out in times of need, but to have friends doing the same is truly a gift.
There was an interesting article in the New Yorker last October which talked about the work of Robin Dunbar, an anthropologist and psychologist. He came up with a number called the Dunbar number, actually a series of numbers for one’s circle of friends. According to this, we have 150 friends on average (a range of a 100 for some to 200 for the more social). These would be everyone who might be invited to a large party or celebration. Then the number drops by a third to 50 who would be friends we would invite to dinner from time to time or see occasionally. Then another third down, is a circle of 15 who you would see more regularly and turn to for sympathy and support. Finally, the most intimate Dunbar number is 5, which would be your best friends, the ones you confide in and which might include certain family members. With the rise of social media like Facebook and Twitter, people are beginning to challenge Dunbar’s number as virtual friends can number in the hundreds. However, Dunbar has also found that there are physiological responses like release of endorphins in real interactions involving laughter and touch, which obviously don’t occur in virtual interactions, or at least not to the same degree. There is also the concern that if we spend too much time talking to friends on social media, there might not be enough time to spend with friends in person.
For me, nothing beats talking, or doing an activity with a real person as opposed to sharing something with them on the internet. Besides, internet friends can’t hug you or bring you soup when you’re sick! So on that note, thank you and a big hug to all our friends and family for helping us out in these difficult times.