Friends are an important part of a person's life. So it's worth asking ourselves: How many friends can a person realistically have? Thus, we can set the right expectations for ourselves in building a social life and attain the best results.

On social media website like Facebook, you can have thousands of so called 'friends'. But are those friends real? Can you have that many friends in real life?

I believe that you most certainly cannot. Friendship entails a strong emotional connection between individuals. This kind of connection takes time to develop and it needs to be nurtured continually, which requires more time.

The fact you've met a person once at a party, you talked for 15 minutes and now your 'friends' on a social media website doesn't mean you're actually friends. That's just a label that website uses very loosely. In reality, you are more like acquaintances.

Considering the time requirements I mentioned, as well as the fact your time and energy are limited, it's safe to assume that in real life it's impossible to have the heaps of friends you can have on Facebook.

You may meet thousands of people in your lifetime, but let's make it clear, that doesn't make them your friends.

On the other hand, the number of friends you can truly have may not be as small as some people think either. Many believe you can only have a few real friends in life, maybe 5 or 6, or a bit more.

I believe that in terms of available time, you can actually develop and maintain a lot more friendships than that. The genuine challenge is to meet people you have a lot in common with, which have the potential to become friends with you. This may not happen that often.

Nevertheless, if you go out a lot, you get involved in all sorts of activities and you meet lots of new people on a regular basis, you will also meet a considerable amount of individuals who are apt to be your friends. You just have to be smart enough to realize when you've met such a person and to capitalize on this.

The folks who believe you can only have 5-6 friends often deem this because they only have that many friends, maybe less. But it's not because they wouldn't be able to have much more friends. It's because their social life is not very active and they don't meet a lot of new people.

And that's how many friends you can make in these circumstance. However, if you're active socially, you can make a lot more friends and you'll still have enough time to foster those relationships as well.

It's next to impossible for me to give a definitive number here, but I'd say that in reality, you can probably have around 50 friends. I'm not talking about best friends, I'm not talking about acquaintances; I'm talking about plain and simple friends.

The individuals I know who are quite active socially and they have good social skills have about this amount of friends. And with this kind of a social circle, you can have lots of fun and you never feel alone. It's the recipe to a fulfilling social life, and quite possibly a fulfilling life overall.

Author's Bio: 

Sometimes you need to find out ways to start a conversation or perhaps learn how to be more social in order to make friends. The know-how is out there. Check out my blog, People Skills Decoded, for practical advice on these topics.