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How to make friends (according to Network Theory)

It is intimidating to approach a new person and become friends. In this article, the author suggests a few strategies based on theories to make new friends.

  • Chameleon effect: people liking someone who is similar to them.
  • Mere-exposure effects: people feel closer to things that they encounter more often.
  • Spontaneous trait: the condition in which if one compliments the other, people will associate the good personalities one used to describe others with oneself – thus, making one appear as more likable.

A network theory advises one to make friends with the friends of the person with whom one wants to befriend. The article also makes a reference to the triadic closure property, which states that two people with a common friend are likely to become friends. In a research done by the University of Kansas, it was demonstrated that people were more likely to accept a friend request if they had more mutuals. Without any mutuals, only 20% accepted the friend request, while about 80% accepted the friend request with more than 11 mutual friends.

It was interesting to note that the network effect can be applied to real life. While it is originally derived from studying people’s behaviors, to begin with, to see it described as a tactic to make friends was very intriguing indeed.

It is still logical that people tend to like each other if they share a common friend with whom they are good friends (strong tie). Not only that there is more chance to encounter each other (mere-exposure effect), but also that they are more likely to resemble each other to some extent (chameleon effect).


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