Quality or Quantity of Friends

October 23, 2019
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friends laughing together

Having social connections is one of the most valuable things we can have in life. However, with the rise of social media as our primary source of connecting with others, the water has gotten muddy.

While it seems like having the most “friends” and “likes” is unmistakenly important, are we missing something critical?

In this article, we will take a look at why more might not be better when it comes to friends.

Acquaintence Vs. Friend?

An important distinction can help frame this conversation. There is a big difference between acquaintances and friends. Both are important parts of your life as they serve very different purposes.

Acquaintances are all of those people who are a regular part of your life. The people at your child’s bus stop. The person who does your hair. Co-workers who you have lunch with almost daily. All the people you talk to and genuinely like. These are people who you have a sense of comradery with, but probably don’t know all that well.

Contrast these people with the few true friends who make up your “tribe”. The people you can always count on. Chance are you have a lot of the first and a few of the second. Acquaintances offer up an important role in your life but are not quite the same as your true blue friends.

Who are your true friends?

Let’s say you have 300 friends on your social media account. That’s great, right? Maybe, maybe not. Could you call up those 300 people in a moment of crisis or stress?

When your relationships with others don’t run very deep, it can be hard to know who your true friends are. Who are the people you can really count on? This is one reason that quality friendships matter most.

Is there depth in your relationships?

Another important question is whether your friendships have depth and meaning. Being open and honest with the people around you. Letting these people know the real you is one way to deepen the quality of your friendships.

There is so much pressure to present all of the best moments of your life. Social media has pushed the envelope on this issue and makes it harder and harder for people to show who they really are. This is why the most meaningful friendships are the ones where you don’t have to put on pretenses.

What is a quality friendship?

What makes for a true, quality friendship? Things like,:

  • Who do you call when you need comfort (for that matter who do you call at all)?
  • Are they someone who is there for you rain or shine?
  • Think back to your toughest moments, who was there with you?

It’s normal to only have a few people that fall into this category. Most of us have plenty of casual friendships with the people around us as work and in our lives. But those few people who we truly rely on are our truest friends.

More isn’t always better

Yes, it is nice to have a big group of friends. And yes, more is usually better. The reality is, when it comes to needing true, deep relationships where you can connect with others, quality is more important than quantity.

This mental health awareness month, take some time to think about the friendships and relationships in your life. Check-in on your friends and see how they are doing. Take a few minutes every day to be that true blue friend to someone in your life.

Kristen has a master’s degree in Clinical Psychology with a specialization in Forensic Psychology, she worked as a rape crisis counselor, inmate counselor. The research focus was on collecting data to assess the effectiveness of treatments for inmates living with PTSD. She founded a company specializing in Industrial & Organizational Psychology, applying clinical psychological practices in the business world. She is currently the Clinical Program Manager at Resility Health and Adjunct Professor of Psychology at Rowan College.