According to psychologist professor Robin Dunbar from the University of Oxford who conducted two surveys, among regular social media users, the average number of friends they had on Facebook was 155 in the first survey and 183 in the second.

Women had more friends than men (in the first sample, women averaged 166 and men just 145 friends; in the second, it was 196 vs 157) while - perhaps unsurprisingly - older generations had fewer friends than younger ones, Dunbar found.

According to him, social media certainly help to slow down the natural rate of decay in relationship quality that would set in once we cannot readily meet friends face-to-face.

Offline, research has given rise to what's called the Social Brain Hypothesis. This says that our brain's ability to process multiple relationships creates a natural group size of 100-200 people for humans. This size is also constrained by the time required to maintain relationships - we only have so much time to devote to meeting or talking to people.

Social media may seem to be a way to make and maintain hundreds of friendships.

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