How many friends do you really have? The answer may suprise you 49



View Profile

I have lots of friends. Hundreds if you count the collection I have accumulated on Facebook. But how many of them are real friends? And what exactly does it mean to have a “true” friend?

These are some of the questions a young Sydney woman was asking herself when she looked at the people around her. Mobinah Ahmad developed a “friendship and acquaintance theory” to help her identify who were her true friends and who were merely people she kind of knew.

Shockingly, she discovered she had many acquaintances but only one true friend.

So what made her arrive at that conclusion?

When developing her theory, Mobinah broke her relationships down into six categories and discovered there was only one person who truly fit the bill.

Here are the different categories of ‘friendship’ she identified, as reported by the ABC:

Someone you know by name only, and they know your name.

Acquaintance Level 1
Someone you know of through mutual friends/acquaintances. You may have met at a social event, and run into each other every now and then. You have “convenient interactions”, which are not planned.

Acquaintance Level 2
You have known each other for a while, possibly worked together or raised children alongside one another. You usually meet up in groups, rarely one-on-one. If this person needed help, you would actively help them as much as you could. However, you can only really talk to this person one-on-one for 20 minutes, any longer than that is a chore.

Acquaintance Level 3
You have a significant connection with this person and care about them. You have some meaningful conversations. You don’t see each other very often, however, just occasionally, and meetings are planned.

Pre-Friend/Potential Friend
This is someone you wish you were friends with (as defined below); you would like to spend more time with them to develop a proper friendship.

You and your friend love each other mutually and you care immensely about every aspect of their life, including their relationships. You care about their opinions, thoughts, fears and ideas, and can easily share your own thoughts and opinions. This person will notice when you are upset without being told.
You share mutual respect and admiration, and see/talk to each other regularly. You can initiate a meaningful conversation with them at any time. Both of you are committed to working on the friendship  to keep it going.

Do you agree with the definition of a friend here? How many true friends do you have? Give them a shoutout here!

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. A friend is someone you send a birthday card to. No I don’t work for any Postal Service!

    1 REPLY
    • Yes. I sent one to my friend and got it back on my next birthday. I looked at it ,thought I sent my friend one like this last year. Opened it and found no signature but a separate note. I had forgotten to sign it so I got it back. This was about 1996. It still gets sent each year but with an extra one for special days like 70 -75 -80. That was this year.

  2. I have only one best friend who has been with and I with her through all our up and downs. We met 48 years ago in our first job and have never had a bad word between us. Due to our families and busy lifestyle sometimes we don’t catch up until our hair appointment every 5 weeks, where we are spoilt rotten by the team there, and then after we have fun at a shopping destination. It is our panadol and we are just us, not worrying about hubbys, kids or anything, we always go home with a big smile after a great day.

  3. No surprises there, however where I live there are plenty of people I do refer to as friends and we all help each other which is amazing when you live alone.

  4. It’s not productive to analyze relationships but it is beneficial to keep an open mind, you never know what life will throw at you. Sorry to tell you but we come into the world alone and leave it the same way.

    2 REPLY
    • I agree I would rather go it alone than ask for help but I did have to after my surgery. Just little things like asking someone to turn off a power switch I couldn’t reach or for a lift. Not at all comfortable with that although I am happy to help others.

  5. I am lucky ,I have quite a few friends, you find out when you are ill and need help.

    2 REPLY
    • Totally agree Marlene – I was blown away with the support I got from friends and still do to this day. I hope I am as good a friend in return – for quite a while afterwards I worried I was not up to scratch as a friend so keep reminding myself how special they are and make sure I keep in touch no matter where we all are…

  6. Yes I do agree and I have only one friend too. The interesting thing is I haven’t known her all my life. We became friends about 10 years ago. I love her to bits and would do anything for her.

  7. I haven’t turned the big 60 yet. Only have another 11 months to go.
    Is this a sight for the over 60’s

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *