Friendship

Directed Friendship GraphAlso at yesterday’s meeting there was a great graph of high school friendships. It’s a directed graph, with a node for every student and an edge from each student to whomever they said were their friends. I have no idea what the colors mean (possibly cliques, but it seems like there are too few).

At any rate, the thing we discussed over lunch was the scattering of friendless students and the couple of students (e.g. the one in the upper left) who claim to be friendless but have at least one person claim them as a friend. I felt that those individuals who had friends but didn’t realize it were the saddest, though my lunch companions disagreed.

Either way, it certainly captures something about high school. I spent quite a while looking for the image (I finally found it in Mark Newman’s Galley of Network Images, of course) so enjoy.

Image From: James Moody, Race, school integration, and friendship segregation in America, American Journal of Sociology 107, 679-716 (2001).

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One Response to Friendship

  1. brianbunton says:

    This reminds me of a fairly sad story from my high school days. I didn’t really consider myself to be part of any particular clique, but most of the people I knew best were the other smart kids. One of them, though, we’ll call Worthington, was generally reviled by the rest of us. He was very smart (he was eventually valedictorian), but obnoxious about it, and had very poor social skills. In our senior year, a group of us was on a math trip to Charleston. As we approached the hotel, I asked about room arrangements, begging a chaperon not to put me in the same room as Worthington (who was in another vehicle). She told me that he requested me, saying that I was about the best friend he had. That floored me. So it’s kind of the opposite of the “saddest” case; he thought he had friends, but he really didn’t.
    I have many other stories about Worthington. He’s now covering our high school’s sports for the local paper. I’m sure he had much bigger plans for himself.

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