Believe it or not, you are more likely to befriend someone with more friends than you have, rather than someone with less friends than you. And I’m not just talking about your social network friends, this actually happens in offline life as well. To quote a recent article in the Scientific American: ”The number of friends we have is typical of many situations in which the average deviates from individuals’ experience.” – Yes, I had to read that over at least 3 times as well.
Apparently it is not that we are all purposely trying to find people who have more friends than we do. Nor are we seeking the loners out there, to make friends with them. Its actually more of a chicken-egg situation where the chances are lower that you’ll befriend someone who doesn’t have many friends. After all, part of their low friend rate means they will be harder to find through friend networks on and offline. Perhaps they’re isolated geographically or mentally, the list goes on and on as to why they may not be easily befriended. The result is the same, you’re less likely to run into them.
The key, according the author also lies in the details of how we measure average “class size” (for the students among us). Or for a non student example you can also take the example of population density. Most humans reside in cities, so from the average person’s perspective the earth’s population density would seem high. But from an earth perspective, looking at the planet overall, the average population density is actually quite low. “Thus,” the article concludes “despite being more crowded together than average, most of us are less popular than average.”
Source: Scientific American
Photo: adactio/ flickr