We're all in the PIP clique!
One may not consider themselves part of a clique -- but they are certainly part of an Oikos. There is no escaping it -- unless you're on a desert island.
This is the best web info I've found -- which doesn't exactly correspond with other research I've read regarding numbers but it hits the concept pretty close:
Olkos: The World's Way of Forming Cell Groups For All
The oikoses each of us lives within are not large. We may know several dozen, even several hundred, people, but quality time spent with others is extremely limited - and only those to whom we devote quality time can be said to be a part of our oikos, our personal community.
Each of us has a primary group which includes some of our relatives and some of our friends who relate to us through work, recreation, hobbies, and neighbors. These are the people we talk to, relate to, and share with, for at least a total of one hour per week.
It is most unusual to find a person who has as many as 20 people in his or her oikos. For many years, I have surveyed the sizes of the oikoses of those attending my seminars and classes. Christians usually average nine people, and a large percentage of them had not developed a single new oikos relationship in the past six months!
Life is made up of endless chains of oikos connections. Every person is already entwined in these relationships. If people are accepted into an oikos, they feel a security that does not exist when meeting a stranger.
In every culture of the world, the intimacy of oikos connections is considered to be sacred. The Chinese have a special word for close friendships, and such bonds are considered to be a sacred thing. In Argentina, I was shown a gourd and a metal tube with holes on one end of it for the drinking of maté tea. A most intimate oikos custom in their culture is sharing the maté by drinking from the same tube. Usually, the ceremony is limited to family members. The Argentine who explained this to me said, "Recently, I went to visit a friend who was sharing a gourd of maté with his wife and children. He paid me the highest honor by inviting me to participate."
Olkoses Vary With Emotional Strength
In Pastor and Parish - A Systems Approach, E. Mansell Pattison has examined this basic structure of human life in depth. He has sought to describe contemporary oikos relationships in psychological and sociological terms:
I have found that the normal person has about twenty to thirty people in his or her psychosocial system... There are typically about five or six people in each subgroup of family, relatives, friends, and work-recreation-church associates. About 60 percent of the people in this normal system interact with each other.
In contrast, neurotics have only ten to twelve people in their psychosocial systems. Their systems include people who may be dead or live far away.... Only about 30 percent of the system is interconnected. It is as if the neurotic, having a variety of individual relationships, is like the hub of a wheel having spokes that radiate outward but are not connected by a rim. Thus the neurotic has an impoverished psycho-social system.
For psychotics we get a third pattern. Here there are only four to five people in the system. The interpersonal relations are ambivalent and nonreciprocal. The system is 90 to 100 percent interconnected. The psychotic is caught in an exclusive nonpermeable small system that is binding, constructive, and destructive.
Since the world began, men have always lived in oikoses. Every single culture, without exception, has them. The security of the individual is in the affirmation received by those who are significant in the oikos. In the earliest hours of childhood, the mother is the one who provides affirmation by her presence and her attention. As the child develops, this affirmation is received, or not received, by the other household members. Then the school teacher becomes a part of the oikos, and later it becomes the adolescent's oikos group which must approve him. In the workplace, affirmation is tied to promotions and raises in salary.
Each oikos becomes a part of a larger social structure. Every human being lives in a special, tiny world, often being forced to relate to people who are forced upon him or her by oikos structures. Today, the hurts of being thrust into a home where the mother is an alcoholic or the father is a daughter molester composes a significant ministry for cell group churches.
As you read this, consider the implications of this in your own life. Take a moment to write down the names of all the people you spend one full hour each week sharing with in a direct, person-to-person manner. (This hour can be accumulated a minutes at a time, scattered over seven days, but it must be regular-and it must be face to face.)
Studies of American family life indicate that the typical daddy spends only seven minutes a day in direct communication with each of his children - a total of 49 minutes per week. That's not enough time to honestly include them in his oikos.
The overpowering impact of a limited few upon each of our lives must be considered. For example: who are the significant others in your own life, whose approval or disapproval is important to you? (I have counseled with those who are still trying to please a disapproving father, who has been dead for years.) Who do you fear may reject you, and who do you look to for affirmation? Meditating upon one's own oikos can bring great insights!