Do you think you’re cool? Sociable? Extroverted? Do you consider yourself more popular than your friends? Well, the Friendship Paradox says otherwise. You aren’t as popular as you thought you were…
The Friendship Paradox states that your friends have more friends than you do. It sounds like a pretty bold statement, I know. But it’s probably true for most people – just look at the mathematical proofs here.
But if you’re too lazy/busy to click on the link, I’ll give you the gist of it.
First, let’s look at research. Exhibit A: Facebook. The average Facebook user has 245 friends, but the average friend on Facebook has 359 friends. Exhibit B: Twitter. Research shows that both the people that a Twitter user follows and the people that follow him have more followers than he does. Also, on average, a Twitter user tweets fewer times than the mean number of times that his followers tweet per day.
Second, think about this: Why do we become friends with certain people? Well, it’s probably because those people are, in general, very outgoing. You tend to be friends with popular people. There are two kinds of people – those with a few friends, and those with a LOT of them. There are much lesser people in the second category. However, because these people have so many friends, chances are, you’re friends with them too. These people raise the average number of friends that your friends have, so you have less friends than your friends have.
Now, take a look at the picture above. Notice how, as you look farther outward from the center, the number of people appears to be growing. This is because you are adding the friends of your friends, of your friends, of your friends, and so on.
Anyway, the point of that was to show you that the friendship paradox can be used in epidemiology (the study of diseases, including their transmission and effects). If you have a disease and you come into contact with your friend, the disease will be spread to him. Then that friend will spread it to his friends, who will spread it to their friends… Pretty soon, we have an epidemic on our hands. I’m exaggerating, of course, but now I think you get the point.
Well, that’s all for this post. But before I go, let me give you some genuine (and slightly cheesy) advice: when it comes to friends, quantity doesn’t matter so much as quality. True friends are much better, and much more rare, than fake ones. So don’t be sad if your friends have more friends than you.
- Metro.co.uk, Ellen Scott for. “JSYK, All of Your Friends Have More Friends than You.” Metro. N.p., 21 May 2016. Web. 23 May 2017.
- “Friendship Paradox.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 11 Apr. 2017. Web. 23 May 2017.
- ArXiv, Emerging Technology from the. “How the Friendship Paradox Makes Your Friends Better Than You Are.” MIT Technology Review. MIT Technology Review, 19 Sept. 2014. Web. 23 May 2017.
- “Why Are Your Friends More Popular than You?” The Economist. The Economist Newspaper. Web. 23 May 2017.
- “Networks.” The Friendship Paradox – Why Your Friends Have More Friends than You Do : Networks Course Blog for INFO 2040/CS 2850/Econ 2040/SOC 2090. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 May 2017.
- “Why Your Friends Have More Friends than You: The Friendship Paradox.” Mind Your Decisions. N.p., 25 Aug. 2012. Web. 23 May 2017.