The Top 16 Reasons to Have Just a Few Friends

In the modern social fabric, embracing the idea of having few friends emerges as a brave and deliberate choice. Discover the benefits of having a small circle.
The Top 16 Reasons to Have Just a Few Friends
Leticia Martín Enjuto

Reviewed and approved by the psychologist Leticia Martín Enjuto.

Written by Editorial Team

Last update: 08 April, 2024

Do you remember the golden age of social networks? In those days, the priority was to accumulate “friends” like there was no tomorrow, since quantity became a symbol of social status. Having 80 couldn’t compare to having 1,000 or even 2,000.

However, in our frantic quest to expand our social circle, we discovered that popularity doesn’t always bring the fulfillment we imagined.

We’ve all felt the pressure to be surrounded by people and be the focus of attention, although we eventually came to the conclusion that it isn’t necessary to have the backing of a huge group. Sooner or later, wanting to have fewer friends isn’t an issue, but a conscious choice that holds countless benefits. Read on to discover them!

“Wise people tend to have fewer friends than average people. The smarter you are, the more selective you become.”

~ Nikola Tesla ~

Reasons why it’s better to have just a few friends

More than once we’ve heard the wise advice to “look for quality over quantity,” or heard that “True friends can be counted on a single hand”.

As we grow up, we understand that the most important thing is to find that group with which we really connect. Because, at the end of the day, having friends goes beyond going out for drinks or going to a party; it’s about creating strong, deep, and meaningful friendships.

So, if that’s what really matters, why exhaust ourselves to be remembered as “the one who had a large group” or “the one who accumulated the most followers”? After all, if it isn’t possible to establish sincere bonds where trust prevails, there’s no point in having that kind of friend. In this article, we’re going to explore some reasons that support the choice to have just a few friends.

1. You can show yourself as you are, without any filters

When you have few friends you can trust, you don’t have to worry about their approval. They have chosen to be part of your circle, so they won’t subject you to constant evaluations. So you’re free to be however you want to be!

Do you like to experiment with eclectic outfits? Perfect! You won’t be criticized or judged. In fact, you’ll be recognized among others as the friend who stands out for his unique style. Does religion play a major role in your life? No problem, they understand that there are certain issues where your position is grounded in your beliefs.

As you can see, the advantage of having few friends lies in the opportunity to honestly express your thoughts and ideals without fear of being judged.

2. You form deeper connections

Another fundamental reason for preferring to have few friends lies in the possibility of establishing deeper bonds, as we highlighted above. Consider this situation: you have conversations with 30 different people, how well do you know them?

Think about it. Would you be able to easily remember if it was Anne or Paul who told you about their peanut allergy? Or if John shared with you that he quit smoking three months ago? Most likely not… In large groups, there is hardly any opportunity to get to know others in more than a superficial way.

In contrast, having a small number of special people in your life allows you to immerse yourself in their stories and get to know your friends better, as you can discover their likes, dislikes, virtues, flaws, and much more.

While it may be nice to be popular and have an extensive network of contacts when it comes to organizing outings, in the long run, these relationships may not stand the test of time.

3. There’s less drama

When you are part of a large group, it’s inevitable not to get caught in the middle of conflicts when they arise. For example, did Mateo break up with Cristina? Within minutes, divisions are generated and half the group backs Cristina, arguing that Mateo never valued her.

In this context, unfounded criticisms, gossip, and misunderstandings proliferate, contributing to a tension-filled environment. It is then that you realize that by maintaining a smaller social circle, you decrease the likelihood of getting involved with people who do not contribute something positive to your life.

Always remember the importance of setting boundaries, and when you detect that a friendship is causing you discomfort, the best thing to do is to walk away. If you find yourself facing a similar situation, we provide you with a guide to end a toxic friendship.

Having fewer friends not only translates into fewer opportunities for disagreements, but also greater emotional stability by avoiding conflict situations.

Like this article? We think you may also like to read: Friendships Between Men Versus Friendships Between Women: Learn the Differences

4. There’s less hypocrisy

Mujer abraza a otra con sentimientos encontrados. Querer tener pocos amigos.
Establishing hypocrisy-free bonds is a compelling reason to choose to have few friends. Credit: nicoletaionescu/iStockphoto.

Perhaps we’ve all experienced this situation at some point in our lives: you belong to a great group of friends, but there’s one person you don’t like.

We’re forced to participate in events where we know he or she will be present, but we do it just to keep up appearances in front of others. Creating a facade of appreciation for someone when we don’t really feel like it results in an exhausting dynamic.

However, this changes when you decide to maintain a smaller social circle. By having fewer friends, the need to wear masks diminishes, as we surround ourselves with people we actually enjoy being with. Consequently, we don’t experience the pressure to fake nonexistent feelings.

5. There are fewer expenses

Reducing social commitments not only means more freedom of time, but also relief for your pocketbook, and you don’t need to be a financial expert to understand that.

Have you ever pondered how much money goes down the drain on outings and group activities? Consider the holiday season, for example, where traditions like gift exchanges-each group with its own quota-and numerous festive dinners can become a challenge for your budget.

Sometimes tackling endless gatherings means investing in restaurants or bars, and those cumulative costs can surprise you at the end of the month. Also, let’s be honest, sometimes it’s hard to decline and explain our financial situation to people we don’t know as well.

However, when you have a few close friends, don’t hesitate to say, “Sorry guys, I’m a little tight on money at the moment, so I won’t be able to join you. This closeness will make them sympathetic, and supportive, or even modify the plan to something more affordable.

6. There are fewer forced social engagements

With the above example in mind, in a large group, you may be faced with awkward situations, such as being invited to the birthday of someone who doesn’t radiate good vibes or feeling they are a self-interested friend. In this context, the commitment to attend arises more as an obligation to avoid comments or to keep up appearances with others.

In contrast, by having a smaller circle of friends, you avoid such forced social commitments. This gives you the freedom to participate in events and activities that actually interest you, without feeling pressured.

Being selective gives you the freedom to have experiences with those you value.

7. You have more opportunities to get some time alone

When you have a smaller circle of friends, it is easier to set aside time to appreciate solitude. This extra time not only gives us the opportunity to recharge, but also allows us to engage in deep introspection.

It never hurts to take time to improve aspects of ourselves that are not fulfilling or to explore passions and hobbies that may have been put on the back burner.

8. There’s better emotional support

Mujer triste recibe apoyo de su círculo de amigas. Querer tener pocos amigos.
A group of close friends, with a strong bond and a shared history, is able to offer much better emotional support in times of crisis. Credit: gpointstudio/iStockphoto.

We’ve explored how choosing to have a few friends builds deeper and more intimate relationships, fosters trust and loyalty, and contributes to personal development. However, it’s essential to note that this decision also results in a significant increase in emotional support.

Imagine you’re going through a difficult time, such as a divorce process that has you exhausted and stressed. You have a large social circle and you turn to them to share your feelings. Although they express their condolences, you identify that they don’t know you and your ex-partner well enough to give you the comfort and understanding you need.

Now, visualize a different scenario where you share this situation with a group of close friends who have known you for a long time. They know your personality and that of your ex-partner, and have even witnessed the ups and downs of your marriage.

Based on that scenario, they not only offer their condolences, but can validate your feelings, share their own perspectives, and help you feel better in the process.

As you can see, the difference between the two situations is palpable. While the former sees everything from superficiality, the latter understands the problem and gives you the support you need.

In difficult situations, the strength of a few solid relationships outweighs the number of superficial connections.

9. You care more about spending quality time with them

If there’s a difference that you must clearly understand, it’s the one between “hanging out” and “spending quality time together”. The former involves a non-committal interaction, open to anyone with whom there is a superficial affinity.

The latter involves a meaningful act of dedication. Why? The reason is that you dedicate your time to getting to know the other in depth, to build a solid relationship. In this context, time becomes a shared treasure, enriched with laughter, confidence, and genuine moments.

This treasure is easier to discover in a smaller group of friends. Unlike in a wide social circle, where encounters can be sporadic and ephemeral, in a more intimate circle, connections are forged in a deeper and more lasting way.

Also, over time, we understand that we might go out for 100+ coffees with someone, but if we don’t allocate quality time, those encounters become mere routines without the added value of authenticity and real connection.

10. You immerse yourself in more meaningful interactions

In a large group of friends, deep connection is often a challenge, but narrowing our circle opens the door to more enriching conversations.

Imagine discussing not only everyday events, but also the future; exploring theories and ideas that spark our curiosity and generate debate; and sharing experiences and opinions about our favorite series, movies, or podcasts.

This level of intimacy is more accessible in a smaller social circle, where interactions take place with authenticity.

11. There’s less social competition

By having fewer but closer friends, you will experience a decrease in social competition and the presence of the envious in your life. This environment is conducive to collaboration and genuine rejoicing in mutual accomplishments. Instead of fueling unnecessary rivalries, closeness creates a space where solidarity is fostered. This allows each success to be a cause for shared celebration rather than competitive comparison.

12. It helps promote common interests

Tres amigos, con intereses comunes, en la cima de una montaña
Having a smaller group of friends, with shared affinity and tastes, allows for memorable moments. Credit: molchanovdmitry/iStockphoto.

The quality of a friendship is reflected in common interests and shared values, creating a solid foundation for lasting relationships. Having a small group of friends who share your interests allows you to create new experiences that become the foundation for friendship.

13. There’s more communication

In smaller groups, assertive communication flows naturally and effectively. Intimacy fosters an environment where conversations are more meaningful and authentic. This environment of open dialogue strengthens bonds, which facilitates deeper connection and mutual understanding.

14. You discover the true essence of friendship

A person with a small social circle has a more authentic understanding of the meaning of friendship than someone who insists on having a larger one. Although the latter may boast numerous connections, these are likely to be more superficial. True friendship goes beyond casual encounters; it involves a deeper, more authentic connection.

Learn more about friendship in this article: Estranged or Unrequited Friendship: Signs and Advice

15. You value people more

In addition to the above, when a person has a small circle of friends, he or she becomes more aware of the need to actively contribute to preserving and strengthening those relationships.

In contrast, those with numerous friendships may not attach as much importance to losing contact with any of them as a result of a disagreement, given the greater number of connections in their social network.

16. You create lifelong relationships

Grupo de amigos mayores se toman un selfie. Tener pocos amigos.
Honesty, trust, and empathy are present in lasting friendships. Credits: Drazen Zigic/iStockphoto.

When you manage to create a true connection with a person, they can become a friend for life. This bond transcends everyday eventualities; although disagreements may arise, the strength of the connection allows you to overcome obstacles through dialogue.

When you have managed to identify your true friends, you have the certainty that you have a group that’s willing to listen to you, advise you, and feel happy about your achievements. Undoubtedly, this is one of life’s greatest satisfactions.

Is there a “healthy” number of friends?

From the outset, it’s clear that quality trumps quantity. Mayo Clinic experts stress that, while it’s valuable to cultivate a diverse network of friends and acquaintances, you’ll experience a greater sense of belonging and well-being by nurturing close, meaningful relationships that support you through good times and bad. In this sense, there are multiple benefits of hanging out with friends for our emotional health.

Even the American Psychological Association reports that people with close friends and confidants tend to feel more satisfied with their lives and are less prone to depression. In keeping with this finding, a study reported in the Adultspan Journal reveals that having three to five special people in your life is enough to achieve a full sense of fulfillment.

In a smaller social circle, there’s more intimacy

Ultimately, the choice to have few friends proves to be a good one. As we have mentioned throughout the text, quality trumps quantity, and by embracing the idea of a smaller network, you can discover benefits that will positively transform your life.

Having a small social circle makes it easier to establish greater intimacy, as it allows you to deepen relationships and spend more time sharing experiences. In fact, establishing an intimate and meaningful connection with someone requires a considerable investment of time estimated at about 200 hours, according to a researcher at the University of Kansas.

Remember that friends are not only traveling companions, but also confidants, accomplices in laughter, shoulders in difficult moments, and pillars that support shared dreams and achievements.

Cover image: Friends series/Warner Bros.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.