Are you in a homophilial relationship?

Homophily, as contrasted with homosexuality, means that your friends (remember Philadelphia means City of Brotherly Love), the people you surround yourself with, are like you.  It is seen to be a natural human inclination.



Certainly, when my parents came to Montréal, they found a neighbourhood (Verdun) with others from Newfoundland.  Many cities have a Chinatown or a Little Italy or other ethnic enclaves.  A new immigrant will want to find others who share some of the basic life experiences.

Your current circle of friends may resemble yourself in many ways.  Most likely socio-economic (or class) factors would be the most common denominator.  Depending on the makeup of your town, racial or religious factors may weigh in.

University students would more likely be a multi-ethnic group, but have shared experiences based on generational influences and their own socio-economic status (ie. poor but striving to be better).  I remember that time fondly.  It coincided with my move into the city, and opened up a whole new world of possibilities, and the people that could introduce me to them.

As we age, the renters end up with the renters, the homeowners with the homeowners, the parents with the parents.  In Montréal some people will choose a linguistic quality for where they live.  Generally your friends have similar lifestyles.  Probably you have shared activities for socializing.

So, if everybody is kind of like you, and kind of thinks like you, when a new or opposing view is presented, you will likely think “I don’t know ANYBODY who would do/think that!”

Which is true, but why does that carry so much weight in your opinion?



That is the point when my ears perk up.  You are not automatically like me?  How so?  It may be simply in taste of music.  Everybody knows I love Bruce Springsteen, but I like to think I also have wide and varied tastes.  Even if you love (shudder) disco or electronica, I can still be your friend.  I love fine art.  Some people love art that I would consider kitsch (or kétaine in Québec) but that is one facet to their personality.

I have a wonderful friend twenty years my senior with whom I visit the museums, galleries, and Botanical Gardens of Montréal.  I have a new friend thirty years my junior who teaches me about dogs all the time.

I’m a renter in a lovely but impoverished part of town.  I was taught how to budget by the best (my mom), so I get by.  One friend of mine has money in the category of “don’t ask”, and I am friendly and on a first name basis with the homeless people in my neighbourhood.

It would be unseemly to check off other categories, but suffice to say, on the outside, most of my friends do not resemble me at all.  I guess most of my relationships are heterophilial.

However, when researching homophily, it seems there are two subcategories: status homophily and value homophily.  So, while on the outside, my friends may not resemble me, they are my friends because underlying all the different tastes, categories, and tax brackets,  I would say they are open-minded, tolerant, progressive, liberal, and I think above all, friendly.

Don’t restrict yourself to your own little sub-group.  Insert yourself into other groups all the time. It’s the best way to learn.


©2001 Marion Pennell

©2001 Marion Pennell

There was a dynamic exchange on the bus tonight.  Good fun.  I inserted myself.

I consider myself fairly well spoken and I like a good debate.  Began with a young co-ed (that phrase must exist for men as well as women, mustn’t it?) mansplaining ‘feminism’ to his female peers.  Cue my entrance.

Although in a battle of the wits, given my age and experience, I should have given my opponent a handicap, I think I was gentle.

Truth be told, his real handicap was his pre-existing point of view.  I believe his argument’s origin was the internet.  To give him credit, he was open to debate, and presented himself well, until he brought up MRA, one of my red flags.

Using statistically remote anecdotal evidence of men losing rights does tend to resemble other majority (cough, white, cough) groups frightened of losing their supremacy, an analogy that seems apt to me. While you are at it, please do not complain about not having Straight Pride Day or White History Month or International Men’s Day.

And, young women on the bus, while I appreciate your enthusiasm for my arguments.  Do some reading, follow up.  Next time I expect you to be leading.

Look it up

Look it up


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