How many friends do you have?

The world’s worst traffic jam occurs during the summer on the road from Paris to Toulouse, France. The year 2000 record of a traffic jam 604 km long was well beaten in 2001 when holiday makers jammed up for 661 km. That would give one ample time to call your friends – providing you stay within the law and do it on a handsfree set, of course.

How many friends would you call? Maximum 150. Why? Research by Robin Dunbar, professor of Evolutionary Anthropology at Oxford University, shows that throughout history the human brain can only handle about 150 friends. More than that and the relationships might be less meaningful.

This fact is known as the Dunbar Number.


The number could be of particular interest if you’re from Argentina or Hong Kong. According to a Plaxo Inc., creator of the smart address book, an Argentinian has on average 479 contacts in his/her address book. In August 2006, Plaxo released their Connected Index which ranks the level of connectedness between people, country by country, based on the average number of contacts in their Plaxo smart address book. The most connected peoples were –

1. Argentina : 479

2. Hong Kong : 390

3. Austria : 384

4. South Korea : 369

5. Italy : 367

6. Venezuela : 366

7. Germany: 364

8. Switzerland : 362

9. Brazil : 361

10. Czech Republic : 358

11. Chile : 357

20. United Kingdom : 319

29. United States : 293

Oops! All those totals are above the Dunbar Number! Maybe they know something we don’t.

A single rose can be my garden… a single friend, my world. – Leo Buscaglia

02/05/2010. Category: trivia. Tags: .

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