In empirical studies of friendship networks participants are typically asked, in interviews or questionnaires, to identify some or all of their close friends, resulting in a directed network in which friendships can, and often do, run in only one direction between a pair of individuals. Here we analyze a large collection of such networks representing friendships among students at US high and junior-high schools and show that the pattern of unreciprocated friendships is far from random. In every network, without exception, we find that there exists a ranking of participants, from low to high, such that almost all unreciprocated friendships consist of a lower-ranked individual claiming friendship with a higher-ranked one.
Friendship networks and social status
Brian Ball, M. E. J. Newman