Your average is not average

“Half the people you know are average.”

I saw this on Twitter. It’s not accurate.

Studies show that most people hang out with friends who are similar to them. You’ll have some exceptions, but the rule applies pretty well.

Now consider yourself. You are either average, above average, or below average. As a result (or perhaps as a consequence), most of your friends are probably in the same group you are.

So if you’re average, most (not half) of your friends are average. If you’re above average, most of your friends are above average. And finally, if you’re below average, most of your friends are below average too.

You can measure averageness however you want: financially, intellectually, socially, emotionally, religiously, whatever-ly. You can even look at something as simple as age: I’d bet the average age of your friends is significantly different from the average age of the world’s population. Unless you are that average age, in which case the averages would coincide.

On a more practical level, many of my friends blog, but only a small fraction of the world’s population even knows what a blog is. That’s because the more specific you go, the less the averages coincide.

All that to say, we stick with people who are like us, and people who are like us stick with us. So our averages are not average.

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