- What do you enjoy doing with your friends?
- What qualities do you think are important in a friend?
- quantity /KWON-ti-tee/
- circle /SUR-kuhl/
- coincidence /koh-IN-si-duhns/
- run out /RUHN-out/
- cope /kohp/
[noun] – the amount or number of something, or a particular amount or number
Prices depend on the quantity ordered.
[noun] – a group of people with family, work, or social connections
Emma isn’t one of my close friends circle of friends.
[noun] – chance or luck
By coincidence, she and I went to the same elementary school.
[phrasal verb] – if a supply or something runs out, all of it has been used or it is completely finished
It seems like Mark already ran out of ideas.
[verb] – to deal with problems or difficulties, esp. with a degree of success
Lucas is struggling to cope with his workload.
There are two types of “circles” when it comes to a person’s social world: the inner and outer circles. Close friends we feel comfortable with belong to the inner circle. Meanwhile, people whom we talk to but not frequently belong to the outer circle. Granovetter refers to them as “strong” and “weak” ties; he points out the importance of weak ties when it comes to learning new information and ideas.
Some companies design their offices and buildings with the intention of letting people meet by coincidence in a specific area. For example, Pixar has a large, central hall where employees bump into each other and start casual conversations from there. Gillian Sandstrom, researcher at the University of Essex, also found that weak ties create a better, happier atmosphere and a greater sense of belonging.
Sandstrom says that social interactions nowadays are limited due to restrictions caused by the pandemic. In turn, we run out of things to share with our friends when we get the chance to talk to them. “Sometimes it’s harder to talk to people we know well because those conversations come with an emotional burden,” Sandstrom says. But this doesn’t mean we have to stop here.
As stated in Granovetter’s work, we get more information from weak ties. Take advantage of the pandemic by asking your friends and acquaintances how they are. Start from there, then ask how they’re coping with the current situation; this way, we can get ideas to figure out how we should behave. Sandstrom points out that right now, social media is the best substitute for casual conversations. Sparking a casual conversation is a way to show that you care without using much of your time, attention, and energy. That is the secret behind “weak-tie” friendships.
- When was “The Strength of Weak Ties” published?
- According to the study, what do we get from weak ties?
- What did Sandstrom find out about weak ties?
- What is the importance of weak ties as stated in Granovetter’s work?
- According to the article, what is the secret behind “weak tie” friendships?
- Do you agree that we get more information from “weak-tie” friendships?
- Do you think companies must have an area where employees meet by chance? Why or why not?
- Why do you think we have inner and outer circles?
- Personally, do you enjoy having conversations face-to-face or online (via social media)? Please explain your answer.
- Is it better to have more or fewer friends? Why?