What the Dunbar Number means for your healthy social interactions

Dave Cortright
1 min readNov 6, 2022

The Dunbar Number states that we can really only maintain up to 150 people in our personal network. But there are other just as important implications of Dunbar’s work. I think this infographic from Boston University illustrates it nicely. A person with healthy relationships necessarily has them at various levels of intimacy. There can only ever be a handful (up to 5) in their closest circle (the support clique).

When we talk about accepting and embracing your emotions and connecting with a compassionate person about them in order to process them and let them go, it is primarily within the support clique (and to a lesser extent the sympathy group). Being open emotionally doesn’t mean that you are open equally with everyone. It’s not an all-or-nothing situation (pro tip: It so very rarely ever is).

[Also see my post on the Dunbar Donut]

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Dave Cortright

Professional coach, effective altruist and audaciously optimistic about helping to fix the global mental health crisis. https://designingthis.life