The Unvarnished Truth About How Many Friends I Have


I’m studying the new math.

Friends Addition.

As in, how many friends do you have?

There’s that ever-present number you see on Facebook.

How many friends to you have there?

As if, the majority of those contacts are real friends.

And now, I’ve come across this study.

It has me thinking friends and numbers.

Adding them up.

Scientists in Britain are looking at the age you have the most friends.

When you are, according to the Aalto and Oxford universities your most popular.

I kid you not.

I can’t make this stuff up.

But I can save you some time.


That’s the age this study says you will have the most friends.

Be most popular, they say.

“Your Friend Peak.”

Oh, silly, silly scientists.

I could’ve saved them so much time.

The money that funds these things?

Don’t get me started. I have nothing friendly to say about that.

Let me be clear–

I adore my friends.

Friends make up the vital food group that gets overlooked as we chase career, love and family.

I need a friend who can make my pant button pop from giggling.

I need a friend who can take that call where after “Hello,” all you do is sob. They offer no advice, simply listen and take in your sorrow.

I need a friend who can cut me off from my pity party, once I’ve been over-served on sympathy. The proverbial face slap has done me good more than once in my life.

I need a friend who can hold me accountable to my goals and dreams.

I need a friend who considers details of my employment, fancy title, or even better, lack thereof, simply a mildly interesting detail, not a factor of my worth.

I need a friend who can simply bear witness to my life, the triumphs, the failures, the mundane.

I need a friend who I can call my sister by choice.

How many people does that all add up to?


But, I do know the scientists who conducted the “Friends Peak” study are young.

Very young.
That kind of young when things like popularity and how much of anything matters.

For I know to age, is to replace quantity with quality.

Such as, how many sets of bed sheets do I really need?

How many clothes?

How many fancy job titles?

These numbers diminish with each year I add to my age.

Friends, though.

I need so, so, much.

As much, maybe more than ever.

Thing is, I’ve learned the number isn’t important.

Those qualities I hold so dear might be all wrapped up in one person.

Though, I think friend wisdom means realizing one person doesn’t need to be all things to me.

So, make it six.

Or nine.

Or three.

The number doesn’t matter.

I don’t count my friends.

I sure do treasure them.

As I do, you, Dear Reader.

It’s just what we friends do.

((Please catch my newspaper column each week in The Atlanta Journal Constitution, The Dayton Daily Mail, and Cox Newspapers across the country.))

For some of my own uplifting stories about the power of friendship, facing loss, about raising kids, marriage, and finding hope, please check out my new book, “Hope Possible: A Network News Anchor’s Thoughts On Losing Her Job, Finding Love, A New Career, And My Dog, Always My Dog.”

 final front cover



The Unvarnished Truth About How Many Friends I Have

by DarynKagan time to read: 2 min