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How many people do we need in our lives?

white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

By "people" I'm referring to family and friends that we cant do without- a number? Well we can be raised to have many family and friends particularly those of Mediterranean origin. An Italian friend of mine has introduced me to so many uncles, cousins of cousins etc I've lost count. I envy those families that remain close.


Alas, no so my family nor my wife's. In my family we have grown accustomed to think we need to be "all in" or "not at all". This stop and restart routine is what we are used to and frankly it's unacceptable. I have no doubt it is bipolar driven as those that come and go like a good southerly wind are indeed bipolar like myself.


In the latest example a sibling has given me the silent treatment, an act that my ex wife was a master at... think she majored in it!. Nevertheless this is an act that is no of the adult world where talking should be your "first port of call" if you have a personal issue. Hence now at the age of 66 I'm no longer chasing the ones that run off wanting you to chase. Got a problem? deal with it direct or I'm not interested.


I confided in a cousin I treat as a brother. He has 5 siblings. His take on the matter is "I have 4 brothers and one sister and you are the only family member I have out of the lot". He went on to say "how many family members do you need, I have you and thats enough".


The message was a good one, if some family or friends treat you with contempt or make life miserable, embrace those that love you, care for you and not those that play emotional games. Life is too short for supplying them with the fun they seek at your expense. 


Are you trying to embrace family and friends that harm you? why? Please share.



7 Replies 7

Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hi TonyWK,


Hope you're having a good day.


Always an interesting read from you!


I'm not sure if it's off topic but your post reminded me of social media, because social media is all about numbers - likes, followers, comments, friends.  A while back, I was hyper-focused on this, because if I had 50 on my Facebook and my friend had 80, who was that extra 30 I wasn't friends with?  It was almost like I needed a higher number to help me feel worthy and loved too.


Interesting that you talk about family too; big families don't always mean close families.


Do you find that you have a few that are close, or multiple people? 



Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hey Tony, 


This is a great way to put things into perspective! I think sometimes people get lost in the idea of having a large number of friends/family vs having a good, quality small circle. We all crave connection and a sense of "belonging", but at what cost? 


I have to say, I come from a large Italian family with countless cousins and friends that are basically family. I have been blessed with the opportunity to have a large circle full of support and love. But this circle also brings with it many voices, opinions and critiques; some of which can be cruel, "all-knowing" and judgemental. 


I think for me, I accepted and embraced some individuals that harm me for two reasons; 1. the cultural importance of family and 2. Insecurity and fear of abandonment.


I have to say, there are family and friends that I absolutely adore and mean so much to me, I couldn't imagine life without them. But there are also a select few that I find myself needing to keep things light and fluffy with or just not really speaking to at all. 


So I have to agree with you, a bigger number doesn't always mean better. 





About FB or numbers of friends. I'm the type of person that needs only one short comment from an observer to make huge inroads into my future. Eg At 29yo I tried to give up smoking, was really hard. I visited a friend and his 75yo father was there. I walked out to have a cig and he asked where I was going. "Outside for a smoke" was my answer- he replied "You dont need that cigarette". I had half that smoke and binned it, gave up cold turkey.


Hence there was a time when I lost a friend for some reason. Another close friend asked me "how many friends do you have?" .. "4 or 5 was my reply".  He looked and said "yet everyone only needs one"


So, around 2015 I went off FB for 5 months after some abuse. I returned and since then I've added 35 and I'm happy with my choices.  So in regard to your friend having more "friends" these could be faceless friends of friends.


What your post highlights to me is the ease of our minds wandering to thoughts and places that arent beneficial. Your fixation to me is like a intrusive thought- no benefit and occupying time in your mind better served filling with more valuable ideas and experiences. Such thoughts are hard to eliminate.


I've mentioned a few times that in 1987 I fought a council against mini corruption. I was off work to recover and I constantly thought of my boss knocking on my door or media attending. My therapist realised the issue and every visit he'd ask me how my week was then ask "is that thought realistic?". After a while I mastered eliminating unrealistic thought from my mind. It has given me a lot of peace.


Hi Livi

Thanks for replying.

When I left my city warder job in 1980 I went by a personal policy- if I moved to the country they'll be far less people of criminal background.


Same with friends, the less I have the less likelihood of having one that manipulates or deceives me. That's my logic lol.


Hi Tony,

You weren't kidding when you said a short comment!  How powerful for you.


Absolutely right.  To be clear, that was a while ago. I don't even have a Facebook account now and honestly I don't miss it too much.  I just think it's worth emphasising because even though it is about unhelpful thoughts, it's also really prominent in society about numbers being tied to our worth.







"it's also really prominent in society about numbers being tied to our worth." Also assets, childrens education standard etc. My daughter was a teacher until pensioned off with mental health issues. She married a lovely guy that eventually became a Dr in computers, yet 3 relatives got together and agreed that she was "lucky she married a rich guy and could afford a block of land"... oh boy, the jealousy.


I'm the middle one of 3. My older brother took his life at 26yo (also a teacher) and my sister and mother now estranged with likely narcissistic issues. Of my 7 cousins in Tassy one has proved like a brother. Same age some 25 years ago he had a bad accident, flown to Melbourne for back operations, later became a ranger in the west of Tassy. He rang me once from a cliff edge. His pain so severe he well... needed me. We spoke, he kept walking after watching an eagle above him. Later that year I visited him and showed him a tattoo he had got on his arm from our conversation on that cliff... he smiled then lifted his sleeve to show me a similar one he got weeks prior.



Pity those, so many souls

That cannot sing

But cry for all that cant

Imagine the lift of an eagle’s wing


To get to Eagledream

Turn about from devil’s drop

Right at suicide dock

Brake at satan’s falls

And at Ossa…prop.


Then hug the love

Of trekkers and the unaware

Those that stared

Into an eagle’s eye

To feel what life really means

To visit Eagledream


Close your eyes

Arm above your head

Flatten weary palms

Hear naught being said

Wait for the eagle to land

Stroke his bold chest

Embrace naturefest

Thank the hunters heart

Then free him


Devil’s drop a distant memory

As that eagle soars like Jetstream

Pity those many souls

That never find Eagledream….



Then free him , a lot like us .

My families huge, the older l get the more l realize just how ridiculously large it is,mum was French, dunno if that had anything to do with it. lt's impossible l don't have the time MH or interest in maintAIninig it these days, l prefer to make the best of a few , much ore my style anyway.

Thee brothers are hassle free , 6, and l love them all accept one and always look forward to seeing or talking to any of them bar that one.

He's guessing some sort of a narc mix and l have zero respect , especially with the way he's been with his kids.

Over all for such a huge family though, prob 40 0r 50 all up throwing in h's and w's and kids , add cousins prob even more but , it's mostly pretty amazingly hassle free really apart from a few sisters.

One is just so high tensile l don't really care if l ever see her again, the other is narc or something , tbh l don't even care what- but l am done with her.

Still , there's a couple of the brothers that mean the world to me, my d of course , and my partner , even though we may not be that's up in the air right now but for who she is, will always mean it all to me.

3-4 , l dunno , but that's plenty for me.


l would love to have a good mate again, have had over the yrs but someone always moves and l'm pretty resigned to the fact that's probably how it will always been as it always has.