**The paradox states that**, on average, **your friends are more popular than you are.**

Sociologist Scott Feld first explained the friendship paradox in 1991 in the article "*Why Your Friends Have More Friends Than You Do.*" He observed that most people have fewer friends than their friends have, on average.

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Lead author George Cantwell says **averages are often highly misleading**. Some people are less popular than their friends. Others are more so.

Cantwell and his colleagues developed **a new mathematical equation** to help researchers understand the paradox of friendship in real-world social networks. They based their equation on two assumptions:

- There is a large
**degree of variation**in how many friends people have. - Popular people often have popular friends, and unpopular people have unpopular friends.

Their new equations could explain 95% of the variance.

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- The friendship paradox is
**stronger in social networks**that are made up of people with**varied popularities.** - Our social circles are
**biased samples of the population**. Generally, it is not appropriate to compare ourselves to our friends. - The mathematical equations on the friendship paradox can
**explain societal aspects**such as election polling and infectious disease spread.

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