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Why Our Friendships Make Us Better Lawyers and Better People [Bridget E. Harris & Susan E. Gunter]

Updated: Jun 22, 2023

Presented by Bridget E. Harris, Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough, LLP, Susan E. Gunter, Dutton Brock LLP (Defense Research Institute members)

In our never-ending quest to understand human nature, we are learning so much about what makes humans not just survive but thrive. Studying connections is a field of study increasingly embraced by social scientists who, fortunately for us, share their research. Science has proven even more links between our connection with other human beings and our health.

With this paper, we introduce some of the fascinating concepts about the human need for connection and friendship that are making their way around the scientific community. We feature two very recent books by experts in the field of psychology of interest to litigators who are involved in society but also in networking activities for marketing and professional growth.

Social Connection and Living Longer

In the text, Friends: Understanding the Power of our Most Important Relationships, Dr. Robin Dunbar, PhD., Evolutionary Psychologist, Anthropologist, and Primatologist at the Institute of Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology and the Department of Experimental Psychology at Oxford University,1 reports his scientific findings and those of his fellow researchers. To introduce his own research, he explains one astounding area of recent research. Science has proved that your chances of living longer depend on how socially connected you are.

Called a “tsunami” – the single most important scientific fact to emerge in the last decade of social science research – the results showed the single best predictor of psychological and physical health and longevity is best predicted by the number and quality of close friendships you have. All other medical factors (except quitting smoking) fall into the background. The 2010 meta-study of epidemiological data from 148 studies on people’s risk of dying – with over 300,000 patient subjects – was conducted by psychologists at Brigham Young University.2 In the study, the only outcome measure was life or death. There was no subjective component like “how happy are you.” The factors analyzed were whether the patients smoked, were overweight, consumed too much alcohol, didn’t exercise enough, lived in a polluted area, took the flu vaccine, and whether the patient was on prescription medication. But they also examined whether the subjects were married or single, how many friends they had, how involved they were with them, and whether they felt lonely or supported. The social measures most influenced chances of surviving. If you scored high on the social connection factors, you were 50% more likely to survive. The only other factor to give you a better chance of extending your life was to quit smoking. The conclusion was that the influence of social relationships on risk for mortality is at least comparable with well-established risk factors for mortality. This Holt-Lunstad research was framed in several ways, which included rating the overall decreased rate of mortality.

In her book, Platonic: How the Science of Attachment Can Help You Make and Keep Friends as an Adult, Dr. Marisa G. Franco, Ph.D. in Counselling Psychology, Assistant Clinical Professor at the University of Maryland, talked about the same study but from a public health advocacy lens.4 Dr. Franco, being interviewed online by wellness industry podcast host Dhru Purohit,5 queried why public health policies address the other, now known to be much less significant factors in human health.6 As we are coming to learn, our society’s failure to recognize, let alone focus on, mental health as an important component of the health of our population is a thread that weaves its way through our daily lives.

The Connection Between Loneliness and Risk of Depression or Earlier Death

Other research conveyed by Dr. Dunbar in Friends: Understanding the Power of Our Most Important Relationships, supports the conclusion that the converse is also true – if social connections help you live longer, the absence of social connections negatively affects your physiology:

  • Another meta study collecting data from 70 academic studies with 3,500,000 people sampled over a 7-year period found that factors like social isolation, living alone, and feeling lonely increased people’s chances of dying after age 60 by 30%.7

  • People who had many friends and who lived with someone else lived longer. A longitudinal study of 6,500 middle-aged Britons found social isolation was a significant predictor of death in the next decade by 25%.8

  • A study found the measured immune response in college freshmen who were given the flu vaccine was significantly poorer for the students who had 4 to 12 friends as compared to those with 13 to 20 friends.9


Dr. Franco talks about 3 dimensions of loneliness – intimate loneliness (spouse/best friend), relationship loneliness (friend), collective loneliness (larger community working towards a common goal). Without any one of these friends, you will feel lonely. All three types of social connections are important.10 In an online interview, Dhru Purohit asked Dr. Franco about “the shocking health risk nobody talks about” – loneliness.11 She explained that when you are without social connection, historically for our species, you are in danger because you are separated from your tribe. You are hyper-vigilant for threats and fight or flight mode. She views loneliness not as a feeling, but rather something that alters your mind state. When you are lonely, you think people are rejecting you when they are not. Loneliness causes stress, which we know, over time, is a health risk. Many have heard of the UCLA Loneliness Scale.12 It is a 20-point scale released in 1978. While the version has changed over the years, and the answers are subjective ratings “rarely” or “often” the participant responds to questions like “I am an outgoing person” and “no one knows me well.” There are other loneliness scales which are multi-dimensional, but the originator is the UCLA study.13

Whether tests like this offer any real insight into one’s own reality remains questionable. Clinicians use them with other modalities when people are trying to address emotional dysregulation and mental illness.

What is Friendship?

Human social networks are highly structured based on the time we dedicate to the connections. Friendships are created by our physical and chemical need for connection and community, combined with our brain functions. When we do activities with friends – talk, laugh, dance – endorphins are released, and white blood cell production is stimulated to boost the immune system. Friends cheer you up and help take away the stress of loneliness. But friends offer measurable physical services to improve your life, as they help you move, loan you money, bring you chicken soup, etc., and don’t expect anything in return. Friendship is altruistic. The closer the friend, the more they will do for you. In return, the more time you will invest in that friendship.14

Physical Connections to Friends

Friends (humans and primates) hug, pat, and cuddle each other. They hold hands, play fight, and put their heads on each other’s shoulders. “There is honestly in touch” according to Dr. Dunbar. Physical contact conveys meaning in a special way when words don’t seem to be enough. When your friend has had bad news and you instinctively stroke her arm up and down to let her know you empathize, you are using a scientifically proven means of calming down another human. Dr. Dunbar explained that science has shown the specific stroking movement stimulates certain nerve receptors which only respond to light slow stroking at 2.5cm/sec. PET scans reveal endorphins created when someone hugs you or strokes your arm and you are increasingly bonded to that person.15 You trust the person you let stroke your arm that she won’t hurt you at such close range. Endorphins are created when we laugh, dance, sing and play, which are all things we generally do with our friends.16 Computer networked friendships – through social media, cell phones or laptop screens – cannot, therefore, ever be as meaningful to humans as in-person contact relationships.

Close Friendships

As Dr. Franco explained, we need different types of social connections. As explained by Dr. Dunbar, a friend is someone you choose, unlike your family. What is a close friend, then? A close friend is someone to whom you have a sense of obligation and will exchange favors. You aren’t embarrassed to ask them for help and want to spend time with them. You know their past; you know their present.

Weaker Tie Friendships – Groups, Clubs and Associations

Gathering in groups is an essential part of human existence. You are likely not as emotionally connected to the friends in the clubs you join, but you still enjoy their company and the activities that cause you to unite. These less-connected friendships with weaker ties are beneficial to us, according to Dr. Dunbar, because they provide an informal network of knowledge and opportunities. Or, they help you learn from colleagues and network for business relationships, like in professional associations. Anthropologists like Dr. Dunbar and others suggest the informal weaker tie network helped our ancient human hunter-gatherers ancestors wandering the steppe to find trees in fruit—the larger the friend network, the better chance of finding food during the short fruiting season.17 Until 2010, 70% of Americans met their life partner through friends or family and 30% met them at school or at work.18 Today, even with internet dating helping 40% of people find partners, still 55% find their match through family and friends.

People over the age of 50 who have more close friends and who were more actively involved in outside organizations experience much less incidence of depression, according to a study of 38,000.19 A study of 5,000 Australians found when people aged 50 joined organized groups, the less their chances of depression. Joining 1 group reduced the chances of depression by 25%; joining 3 reduced them by 60%.20

How Many Friends to Have? Dunbar’s Number

Is there a target number of friends we should strive for? How many friends should we have? Can you have too many? Psychologists recognize that humans belong to complex social systems requiring our relatively large brains to understand them. Primates and humans develop bonded relationships with friends and family. As Dr. Dunbar says, however, science shows that the social group an animal lives in is determined by the size of the animal’s neural cortex. Dr. Dunbar is known for his seminal research in this area known as “Dunbar’s Number” - a theory that there is a natural group size in human communities. Dunbar’s Number theory asserts that 150 is the limit on the number of friends any human can have – defined as the people you know, the people who know you, who you would not hesitate to approach, and the people in which you know where you stand.21 Dunbar’s Number,150, is the number of stable relationships people are cognitively able to maintain at one time. In reality, the number is recreated, over and over, in our gatherings. Dr. Dunbar’s team found a social pattern when they analyzed many different sources of information of how many people we surround ourselves with:

  • A survey was conducted of holiday card lists (from before the social media era). The average number of cards sent per person was 154, for example:22

  • The average number of wedding guests is 144 and marriages with 150 guests or more were more lasting, which suggests the couple was surrounded by a larger network of family and friends who provide support.23

  • Dunbar’s team researched the average community size even in early medieval villages described in the 1066 Domesday Book commissioned by William the Conqueror to find every potential tax-payer.24 The answer was about 150 in each county in England and Wales at the time of William the Conqueror.

  • While your own number of Facebook friends may be vastly more than 150, the bulk of Facebook accounts have between 100 and 200 friends. 70% of Americans have a Facebook account and 50% use it every day. Dunbar challenges you to find many more than 150 Facebook friends who are actual friends.25

Dr. Dunbar’s most substantial research project on this topic involved cell phone accounts – millions of them. His team conducted a study of 6 million people who had mobile telephone numbers by accessing anonymized call records from a telecom company in a large European country. After filtering out 1-800 calls, his team still analyzed 6 billion calls. Relationships were defined as “a call out and a return call from the same number (reciprocal calls) during a one-year period.” After looking at 20,000 complete phone records, the average number of relationships for each caller was 130.26

Brain Construction

Dr. Dunbar, an evolutionary psychologist, and anthropologist, also explains the regions of the brain that determine key social skills (mentalizing, inhibition, causal attribution) are unique in primates and humans. The size of the living groups correlates with the size of the neural circuits associated with activity during socializing. Complex thinking (like the ability to think before you act and compare outcomes from two contemplated courses of action) depends on the size of the frontal cortex.

Why is our capacity to have friends limited by quantity of friends?

According to Dr. Dunbar, it’s because 1) we are cognitively challenged to keep track of too many people, likely by the size of our neocortex; and 2) there is not enough time in the day to invest in more people. It’s about keeping stable groups by maintaining relationships so the community can remain intact. But what are the groups, how many are there, and what size are they?

Circles of Friendship

Dunbar’s Number has evolved as a theory to address the concept of different categories of friends. It isn’t limited to 150. This makes sense since most of us know more people and connect meaningfully with more people than that. But Dunbar’s math showed that as your connection numbers go up from 1, they increase in a series, by a factor of 3. The result of this series-based increase was to categorize your friendships into “friendship circles,” sorting friends into how close they are. Dr. Dunbar looks at social networks as a series of layers of concentric circles with you in the center.27 The data fell into a series of concentric circles representing qualitatively different kinds of relationships. The distribution of the data formed a series of layers, with each outer layer including everybody in the inner layer. The increase in our concentric circles is by multiple of three, 5 to 15 to 45 and so on, based on social science mathematics balance theory.28 Each layer is approximately three times the size of the layer directly preceding it: 5; 15; 50; 150; 500; 1,500; 5,000, as evidenced below:

The circles are essentially defined by how close the connection is:30

  • Center = romantic partner

  • Up to 5 = shoulders-to-cry-on, who we call if our world falls apart (3:00 a.m. test)

  • Up to 15 = core social partners, fun times, child-care

  • Up to 50 = weekend-barbecue people, work colleagues

  • Up to 150 = wedding guests

Our free time is limited. Therefore, we must decide how much time to invest in each friend and each friend category. A Dutch study found that extroverts had more people in each circle and introverts had fewer, but that the extroverts had fewer intimate relationships in favor of the greater number.31 The circles are fluid. Our friends are changing constantly, and as you make a new friendship, the reality is that another will be bumped out of that circle. This substitution happens less frequently as we grow into adulthood, with some major disruptors: leaving school, starting a new job, marriage, the arrival of children, and retirement. Dr. Dunbar shared his findings set out above in a presentation— the World Psychiatric Association, Section of Evolutionary Psychiatry in 2021.32 Dr. Dunbar says he does not want people to overthink this or re-arrange their lives based on his theories and findings. The point of the research is to show that human social connections are unconscious and likely instinctive but therefore not avoidable or unlearnable. The science is just supposed to help us understand our human nature. As new friends come into your circles and old friends leave, think of it as a healthy pruning of people from whom you may have drifted.

With Whom Do We Make Friends? The Seven Pillars of Friendship

Do you ever wonder how you connected with the friends you have? How did the relationship develop? How can you make new friends, what’s the secret? The “seven pillars of friendship” are the things you have in common with your friends, according to Dr. Dunbar, and some, or all of them, are present – probably – in most of your relationships: 33

  1. same language

  2. same place of origin

  3. same education

  4. same interests

  5. same worldview

  6. same musical taste

  7. same sense of humour.34

If you think about your friendships, you will find items in each of the 7 categories to explain your relationships. Shared experiences provide the stepping stones along the path to friendship. But commonality isn’t enough. Like anything worth having in life, friendships are worth fighting for. Studies show it takes about 200 hours over a few months for a stranger to become a good friend. Friendships take work.

Evaluate Your Friendship Skills

Learning how to maximize the friendships in your life takes some discussion. We recommend the hot-off-the-presses book, Platonic: How the Science of Attachment Can Help You Make and Keep Friends as an Adult, by Dr. Marisa G. Franco, Ph.D. in Counselling Psychology.35 36 Dr.Franco has an online 20-question questionnaire which is intended to “guide you through assessing your strengths and weaknesses as a friend ”and provide “ advice on how to increase your skills at making friends based on your scores.”37

Why is it Hard to Make Friends?

Before the release of Platonic, Dr. Franco was interviewed in the American Association of Psychology’s Speaking of Psychology, “Why is it so hard for adults to make friends” in 2022.38 After some reflection on areas of improvement in this department, it is worth acknowledging that there are some inherent human behaviors and beliefs that make befriending people harder than it needs to be.

The “Liking Gap” Illusion

People are afraid of rejection, and this fear creates shyness when making new connections, as Dr. Franco reveals. Science now shows that, in fact, you’re not that bad after all! According to the Liking Gap study, as explained by Dr. Franco, it is best to assume people will like you because they, in fact, do.39 “The liking gap describes how we systematically underestimate how much other people like us. Researchers asked people how much they liked one another after they interacted in a lab, a college dorm, a professional workshop… people's ratings of the degree to which they thought they were liked were less than the degree to which they were actually liked.” The interactions were observed by independents who reported accurately about how much each subject liked the other, which means that we are ignoring the cues people show—objectively observed by others—signaling that they like us. The authors confirmed that after “following interactions, people systematically underestimated how much their conversation partners liked them and enjoyed their company, an illusion we call the liking gap.”40

Romance with “The One” v. Friendship with “The Many”

Another assumption that holds us back in our friendship matrix is the reality that often, when a romantic relationship starts, platonic relationships suffer. This comes from an ingrained but misguided belief that romantic love is the end goal of life. In the introduction to her book, Platonic, Dr. Franco compares romance to friendship. For people who were raised to believe having a spouse is more important in life than having friends, Dr. Franco’s perspective is helpful. She sets it out in an April 2022 TedTalk, “Why friendship is just as important as romance.”41 Dr. Franco was inspired to research friendship because of experiencing the love and support of her friends in the aftermath of a romantic relationship breakup. A romantic relationship is not enough for us—science has shown this. As Dr. Dunbar demonstrated. humans need and thrive in a more complex community. Dr. Franco reviews the history of love and connection through literature and posits that no form or type of love is superior—romantic and platonic love are equally meaningful, but if you do not have “The One” you aren’t lost because you have “The Many.” But similarly important is the wider friend network, not the intimate, or close friend, but also the larger community.

Practical Tips For FindingNew Friends

Most friendship advice feels simplistic, because it is – “just put yourself out there, make an effort.” But it is not easy to make friends, especially later in life. This can be due to decreased social connections as people leave the large groupings of school or work. Dr. Franco explains that instead, “friendship is organic if repeated interactions which are unplanned and shared vulnerability.” She offers some concrete takeaways to find new potential friends, and make them friends:42

  • Use connecting friends as initiators: “Let’s go together”

  • Finding new groups: “go to where people grow”(self-improvement classes, yoga, sports, continuing education)43

  • Transitioners: After moving to a different city, workplace, school, or retirement, try to find other new people because they are looking for the same thing you are looking for

  • Punctuate the first interaction by asking for contact information: “I enjoyed our chat, can I have your contact info?”

  • Reciprocity: let people pull away if they don’t seem to want to be your friend

How to Be a Good Friend

Dr. Franco offered some useful takeaways about how to continue the relationships from commonalities.44 In particular, you have to follow through with what you say (e.g. to together when scheduled). Offer to run an errand when your friend is in a time crunch. Make a referral of work to a friend, showing you value their work or contribution. Help the friend move, even without the pizza reward. Show up for the friend’s big events and ceremonies and those of their family. Perhaps most importantly, be there for their sad times.

Do No Harm

But in addition to these positive steps you should follow through with, Dr. Franco talks about deliberately avoiding unintentionally hurting a friend. When you let someone down, you hurt them, even if there is a good excuse, even if it seems minor. The injury– however small – is still there. When the hurt is from distance, coupled with a separation (due to COVID-19 isolation or busy schedules), it is exacerbated. The other way you can hurt a friend is to be oblivious to their needs by failing to make inquiries as to their wellbeing. It takes effort to not let people down— that is what is meant by working on a friendship.

Not Guilty Without a Trial

Do you tell a friend who has let you down? If you don’t bring up the problem, then you make it worse. But Dr. Franco urges us to think as attorneys—would we find someone liable before giving them a trial.45 When a friend hurts us, we internalize it and hold them responsible secretly. This does not give them due process to explain or excuse their behavior or, to make the all-important step of apologizing. It is often well-intentioned to keep these transgressions internalized. We play narratives in our own heads that may well have very little grounding in reality.

How to Express Hurt

Dr. Franco talks about not allowing people’s actions to hurt you, but to address them for the sake of the friendship.46 She accuses us of sitting in “flaccid safety” while we avoid problems, while a “dynamic safety rupture and repair” will work to move us to greater intimacy. She recommends achieving the dynamic safety by “express your needs with ‘I’ statements like ‘I feel, I wanted to share, I want to have a relationship, but I felt hurt’…” If the friend responds to listen, apologize, or help, the friendship is worth saving.

Dr. Franco recommends soft starters: “I don’t imagine you intended to hurt me, but I felt hurt by what you did, and I wanted to check in with you about it.” Open dialogue and sharing hurt are so important to the health of a friendship. We should not be afraid to escalate problems. Dr. Franco says insecure people approach anger with despair due to pain, so they approach conflict like an attack. But securely attached people have a combination of anger and hope, where they use anger as a signal that something has to change.

Bridging the Differences Gap

We have all experienced the challenge of realizing your friend or potential friend is just so different from you, or believes something so essentially anathema to your ethos, that you just can’t continue the relationship. Dr. Franco addressed that issue (in an online interview) by reminding everyone that in fact, the polarization attributed to media communications has likely contributed to believing they are isolated, and more different from their community members than they are. Yes, you may come from different backgrounds, have divergent beliefs, but without the media-stimulated “victimhood and rage” we would not be so challenged to maintain friendships. We tend to take the easy way out, which is to write someone off because of their bad behavior, or their likes or dislikes, their voting record, their political views, etc.

Individual, not a group member: The solution, according to Dr. Franco, is to look at a person as an individual and not as a member of a group. Seems obvious—everyone is unique—but it bears reminding when it is so easy to categorize people. Disconnecting someone from the group you initially assigned them to is the first step in getting to know a person.

Day in court: Another point Dr. Franco makes should resonate with lawyers—no conviction without a trial, everyone gets their day in court, innocent until proven guilty, give people a chance to explain. If someone has done something that will cause you to ghost them and/or completely write them off as a friend, take a minute and remember that it is incumbent on an honest broker to give the person a chance to explain.

Stress test ideas: One should stress test their own ideas, frequently. Lawyers know this is an important skill – to play devil’s advocate so you can have confidence in your own evidence, ideas or belief. A friend, especially one who doesn’t share your views, can be the best-sounding board to check yourself or help refine your argument. Lay the ground rules—you will each get a chance to say your piece. At its worst, you have clarified your understanding of the idea, belief, or, position while refining your own views and, at best, you have changed a mind!

Blank slate: Dr. Franco explains that research on interracial friendships shows they are successful when each friend just lets the person be a blank slate. This is because everyone deserves the respect of individuality, but also because as you learn the friend’s experiences—how she experiences life—it helps explain why she acts a certain way or, believes a certain thing. Once you know the friend’s life experience, you might not agree with her views, but you will understand her.

Not about you: Dr. Franco talks about how when things don’t go swimmingly, it is almost always because what is happening with the other person is not about you. We all need to be reminded of that.

How to Keep Friends

Dr. Franco has some pointed simple steps to follow when you are out there, making new friends, and keeping them. She explains that surprise, surprise, being smart, impressive, or charismatic is not actually the best approach to making friends. This is because true connection happens when you aren’t elevated, or elevating yourself, above people.

Her tips include:

  • People like people who like them.

  • Make others feel like they belong.

  • Express the positive feelings you have about others (compliment or caring).

  • Absorb compliments when they are expressed to you by others; absorb it to change your mindset.

We now know, thanks to science, that friendships literally not only improve our life experiences but make us healthier and reduce our chances of death more than almost any other single factor.

How many friends to have?

It turns out, there is a scientific natural human cap of about 150, reached by circles of friends which increase by a factor of three—it’s human (and primate) nature. We are all, naturally, trending to this figure by virtue of our social engagement. Close friend circles interlaced with weaker ties make the dynamic concentric circles of our friendship base worthy of reflection and attention.

How to make and keep these friends? Recognizing that friendships are hard to create, find people with similar interests and backgrounds, or find people with different interests and origin stories. Practical steps to approaching new people and making—and then keeping—new friends, can be indispensable.

1 Friends: Understanding the Power of Our Most Important Relationships, Dunbar, Robyn, 2022 Little, Brown 2 Social Relationships and mortality risk: a meta-analytic review, Holt-Lunstad, Julia, Smith, Timothy B., Layton, J. Bradley 2010; Loneliness and social isolation as risk factors for mortality: a meta-analytic review, Holt-Lunstad, Julia, Smith, Timothy B., Baker, Mark, Harris, Tyler, Stephenson, David 2015 March 3 4 Platonic: How the Science of Attachment Can Help You Make—and Keep—Friends by Marisa G. Franco, Ph.D., Penguin, September 6, 2022 5 6 Dr. Franco interview with Dhru Purohit;

7 Social isolation, loneliness in older people pose health risks, April 23, 2019 8 “Positive affect and health-related neuroendocrine, cardiovascular, and inflammatory processes,” by Steptoe, Andrew, Wardle, Jane, Marmot, Michael PNAS April 19, 2005 9 Dr. Sarah Pressman, Associate Professor of Psychological University of California, Irvine 10 Dhru Purohit on YouTube 11 Dr. Franco interview with Dhru Purohit YouTube 12 Ferguson, M.L, Russell, Daniel, Peplau, Letitia Anne at UCLA. 13 The revised UCLA Loneliness Scale: Concurrent and discriminant validity evidence. Russell, D., Peplau, L.A., & Cutrona, C.E. 1980 Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 39, 472-480

14 Altruism in social networks: Evidence for a “kinship premium.” British Journal of Psychology, Curry, Oliver Scott, Roberts, Sam G.B., Dunbar, Robin, May 2013,'kinship_premium'

15 Friends: Understanding the Power of Our Most Important Relationships, Dunbar, Robyn, 2022 Little, Brown 16 Friends: Understanding the Power of Our Most Important Relationships, Dunbar, Robyn, 2022 Little, Brown 17 The Strength of Weak Ties, Granovetter, Mark, JSTOR 1973 18 Friends: Understanding the Power of Our Most Important Relationships, Dunbar, Robyn, 2022 Little, Brown

19 Social disconnectedness, perceived isolation and symptoms of depression and anxiety among older Americans: a longitudinal mediation analysis, by Santini, Ziggi Ivan, Jose, Paul, Cornwell, Erin York, et al 2020/1/1 The Lancet Public; and Social disconnectedness, perceived isolation and symptoms of depression and anxiety among older Americans, Cornwell, Erin York, Waite, Linda J, 2009 Journal of Health and Social Behaviour 20 Social group memberships, physical activity, and physical health following retirement: A six-year follow up from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing, Tegan Cruwys, Ph.D. Clinical psychology, Australian National University 21 Friends: Understanding the Power of Our Most Important Relationships, Dunbar, Robyn, 2022 Little, Brown 22 Professor Russell Hill, Primatologist, Durham University, UK 23 Friends: Understanding the Power of Our Most Important Relationships, Dunbar, Robyn, 2022 Little, Brown 24; 25 Friends: Understanding the Power of Our Most Important Relationships, Dunbar, Robyn, 2022 Little, Brown 26 Friends: Understanding the Power of Our Most Important Relationships, Dunbar, Robyn, 2022 Little, Brown

27 Friends: Understanding the Power of Our Most Important Relationships, Dunbar, Robyn, 2022 Little, Brown 28 Heider’s Balance Theory in Psychology, A Life in Threes, Heider, Fritz, 1946 29 Courtesy of Little, Brown; Friends: Understanding the Power of Our Most Important Relationships, Dunbar, Robyn, 2022 Little, Brown

30 “You Can Only Maintain So Many Close Friendships,” Sheon Han, The Atlantic, May 20, 2021, 31 Friends: Understanding the Power of Our Most Important Relationships, Dunbar, Robyn, 2022 Little, Brown 32

33 “You Can Only Maintain So Many Close Friendships” Han, Sheon, The Atlantic, May 20, 2021, 34 Friends: Understanding the Power of Our Most Important Relationships, Dunbar, Robyn, 2022 Little, Brown 35 @DrMarisaGFranco 36 Dr. Franco has a varied online presence @DrMarisaGFranco. Dr. Franco has a monthly friendship e- newsletter which reveals new research into the science of connection. 37

38 39 40 The liking gap in conversations: Do people like us more than we think? Boothby, E. J., Cooney, G., Sandstrom, G. M., & Clark, M. S. (2018). Psychological Science, 29, 1742–1756. doi: 10.1177/0956797618783714;

44 Platonic: How the Science of Attachment Can Help You Make--and Keep—Friends by Marisa G. Franco, Ph.D., Penguin, September 6, 2022 45 Platonic: How the Science of Attachment Can Help You Make--and Keep—Friends by Marisa G. Franco, Ph.D., Penguin, September 6, 2022 46 Platonic: How the Science of Attachment Can Help You Make--and Keep—Friends by Marisa G. Franco, Ph.D., Penguin, September 6, 2022

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