If you think you have a better chance of forging friendships with people who like the same things you like within a small group, then you’re in for a surprise. According to a study published in the journal Group Processes and Intergroup Relations, a larger and more eclectic crowd may raise your chances of finding friends who share your interests and temperament.
It sounds like a given, considering how often people move to the big city to meet new people, and the researchers from Wellesley College and the University of Kansas found that their results came out as expected. They had successfully predicted “that the size and diversity of an environment will have exactly the opposite effect.”
The social study was conducted on the campuses of the University of Kansas in Lawrence with approximately 25,000 students and four small colleges in Kansas with around 1,000 students each. Astonishingly, the results proved the authors right and revealed that friends who studied at the larger educational institution had more things in common with each other than those friends who were enrolled in the smaller schools. What could possibly be the reason for this?
According to the researchers, the possible explanation behind the seemingly baffling friendship patterns is due to “greater social mobility.” Simply put, the more people around you, the more likely you are to find friends you have a lot of things in common with. And since there are a lot more people at a university than at a small college, your success rate of finding similar personalities becomes higher. Besides, if the friendship doesn’t work out, you can always try again with a new set of friends.
Having almost nothing in common with your friends isn’t exactly a bad thing either, though. The authors of the study also discovered that friends in smaller colleges appeared to have closer relationships with one another. They may not share your enthusiasm for potted plants or your obsession with K-pop albums, but there is a higher chance that they will be there for all the other important events in your life.
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