The Atlantic

How to Make Friends, According to Science

To begin, don’t dismiss the humble acquaintance.
Source: Christopher DeLorenzo

“What are friends for?” This isn’t a rhetorical question. Friendship is one of life’s most important features, and one too often taken for granted.

The human desire for companionship may feel boundless, but research suggests that our social capital is finite—we can handle only so many relationships at one time. Social scientists have used a number of ingenious approaches to gauge the) Looking more specifically at friendship, a study using the exchange of Christmas cards as a proxy for closeness put the average person’s friend group at about 121 people.

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The Atlantic

The Atlantic5 min readPolitics
How Stressed Is Iran?
The Iranian people are, for the first time in decades, worried about whether the leaders who have been their captors are not also their protectors.
The Atlantic4 min read
My Time With the British Aristocracy
As a black American woman married to a member of Britain’s upper class, I have caught just a glimpse of Meghan Markle’s world.
The Atlantic3 min read
Eminem Slips Into the Mind of the Las Vegas Shooter
Gun violence is a crisis that you can see and hear. There’s surveillance footage of the Columbine killings, and the assailants taped home videos bragging about what they were about to do. When a Las Vegas music festival was targeted in 2017, audience