150 Revisited

There seemed to be some incredulity regarding the information presented in the  15o? That’s It? post.   I admit, if you think of the 150 as people you talk to everyday, would share your deepest, darkest imaginings with or drop everything to go and help – 150 seems a tad much – how would you ever get anything else done?

Because I worked a tad too long after the sun started heating up the great out-of-doors, I’m confined to quiet activities for the next few hours.  I took advantage of the break to list all the people I have interaction with at least every 3 months, even if that interaction is in the form of visiting their website/blog and chatting via the comments, exchanging emails/letters, the occasional phone call or chat while waiting for my turn at the bank, store, post office, chiropractors, acupuncture or doctor’s office  –


Out of those, I listed which ones (if I ran into them on the street)  I could call by name and comment knowledgeably on whatever was going on with them last time I saw them or pull up a memory of a good time we shared together in the past:


Then I listed the people I have some form of contact with each and every week – those I call when I’m needing information or would do my best to help them any way I could if they asked:


Then I counted the people I talk to more than once a week, would drop everything and rush to their aid, should they call for help, as long as I wasn’t on my deathbed:


And last, but not least –  I listed those I’m willing to call for help should I need it:


Fortunately for me, nestled within that 67 are many who don’t wait for me to call – they just offer.

And in the 26 are those who are always popping up with generous gifts of their time and spirit, sans any request from me.

I’m so grateful for my circle.  This list making activity highlighted that I’m still not too good at asking for help (though I’m getting better at it!)

I was also amazed as I went through this category, how few of my sacred 67 are related to me biologically.   The fact that I live 1,900 miles from the full concentration of blood relatives partly explains this phenomena.


I first heard about the Magic 150 when reading a book on anthropology.   In an attempt to hypothesize common causes of the rise and fall of various civilizations, the author referred to Dunbar’s Number (150)  and speculated on why warfare, internal corruption and the decline of societies tend to occur when the number of any group starts to exceed 150.  One thought was because groups under 150 are often formed around blood ties and you know the saying about blood being thicker than water…

150 makes good sense for nomadic tribes, as well.   There is only so much foraging and hunting an area can stand, before needing alone time to regenerate.

So there it is – the 150 conundrum – which relationships do you count?   Do you differentiate among your different groups dependent upon your depth of relationship or do you just lump them all in together?

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