How many friends at work are too many? The nonlinear association between the number of friends, social support and mental well-being

Maria Ioana Telecan*, Petru Lucian Curseu, Claudia Lenuta Rus

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Purpose: We grounded this study in the Too-Much-of-a-Good-Thing (TMGT) meta-theoretical framework to disentangle the costs and benefits associated with workplace friendship in a military setting. Design/methodology/approach: We collected data cross-sectionally through self-reports from 287 employees from the Romanian Air Force. Findings: The number of friends had an inverted U-shaped association with perceived social support. Our results show that as the number of friends increases from 9 to 10, so does the social support. However, as the number of friends further increases above 10, social support tends to decrease rather than increase. Furthermore, we found that social support and all dimensions of mental well-being (emotional, social and psychological well-being) were positively associated. Moreover, social support mediated the relationship between the number of friends and the three dimensions of mental well-being. Research limitations/implications: Our findings can help human resources policies in military organizations foster an organizational climate that cultivates friendship ties between employees, which is crucial for their social support and overall mental well-being. Originality/value: This work provides additional information about the specific mechanisms through which the effects of workplace friendships on mental well-being occur.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages14
JournalCentral European Management Journal
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2024


  • Mental well-being
  • Military organizations
  • Social support
  • Workplace friendship

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