Of complex networks, and why we love hook-ups.

This post is about two friends hooking up.

But before getting to that part, it’s a confession of how unstable and unbalanced I have become since I started research. Work-life balance now depends pretty much on whether Github loads correctly. The lack of results or any kind of milestones is nerve-wrecking.

I cope by doing sports. Lots and lots of sports. Enough to mess up my hormonal system.

Fun fact: did you know that professional athletes force their body so much that it is constantly in survival mode? It reacts by cutting non-essential functions, such as reproduction functions. Next time when you watch sport, think of these professional athletes as all temporarily sterile.

So on the happiness scale I’m leaning on the lower side. Luckily, to me, happiness is overrated. Everything is so interesting now. Everything I research can be applied to the world.

As I’m working with complex networks, it means I now see the world as a giant network. You are like nodes to me. Our friendship is a weighted edge.

You might think, that’s an awful way of looking at life, but actually it made me realise how much connections between people are important. And it raises the questions: what makes an edge solid? how do you build them? what is the trade-off between flexibility and stability? There is no one right answer, but there’s no denying that emotions are essential elements.

And this made me sad. I’m not so good with emotions, so does that mean my edges are doomed to die? I love my friends but I never tell them and I never see them. I just send them links from time to time when I think of them. Is that not enough? What is enough? Then I felt melancholy thinking of the fleeting nature of human relationships.

“I’m melancholic. I’m no fun.” I tell Seb, sad.

“It’s ok” he says, reassuring. “It’s nice to see you like this. It makes you human.”

So, back to my friends hooking up.

It started when I constantly bugged him that I found the love of his life. I wouldn’t shut up about it. He totally ignored me: “The love of my life would not last long if I die climbing. Please concentrate on belaying me.”

Then, I told her that there might be someone interesting for her to meet, but nothing major. Just a friend.

See how I adapted my speech? That’s because she’s an ENFP and they put pressure on themselves easily. They look for a thousand of cues on your face which makes me nervous of not inadvertently twitch my eye at the wrong moment. If you don’t believe me, her favorite book is The Golden Notebook by D. Lessing – and she found it relaxing to read.

Finally, one day, they met at our housewarming party and they talked and talked until 4am. Then they texted and texted for like forever. I’m not sure what made them hesitate. Maybe the fact that he never dated someone who speaks the same language as himself, or she never dated someone who wasn’t emotionally tortured.

Long story short, they finally kissed. Last week. At his place.

Why is it so exciting and fun to watch people hook up? Is it only because we are vicariously living through them? Is it something else?

From the network point of view I’m amazed at how solid family ties can be, compared to other kinds of ties, such as business relationships, neighbours, even friendships. It doesn’t matter how far we live from each other, how nuts we drive each other. At the end of the day, if someone in our family needs us, we’re there. I think it starts when two people create, you know, a human being. It’s like an super-out-of-the-league tie.

Maybe that’s why intuitively we love budding love stories.

And this is my way of telling them that I’m happy for them.

4 thoughts on “Of complex networks, and why we love hook-ups.

  1. Je trouve qu’il y a trop de mots compliqués pour non scientifiques (weighted edge?) 😉 Cet article je le trouve un peu trop “dans tous les sens”, comme si tu avais trop d’idées parmis lesquelles tu essayais de naviguer. Il “flow” un peu moins que les autres pour moi, mais a un peu des à-coups (je viens d’aprendre comment s’écrit ce mot!). genre les thèmes et idées sont trop nombreux: friends hooking up unbalanced life sports low happiness apparté on happiness being unimportant giant network, friendships as edges you and your friends melancholy (including talking about climbing and mbti) apparté on books family ties are strong thus we like hook ups

    c’est peut être parce que c’est ton premier article sans aucune liste (j’ai vérifié), du coup en fait tu ne sais pas gérer ta quantité d’idée sans faire de liste? 😉 (moi aussi suis comme ça)

    1. J’suis d’accord avec tout ce que t’as dit.

      J’ai essayé d’utiliser une forme plus “libre”, suivant le cours de mes pensées. Ton commentaire m’a fait trop rire parce qu’il est exprimé de façon tout aussi bordélique, avec des apartés et fun facts, car c’est exactement la façon dont on pense! La structure même de nos conversations où on va de A à tout le reste de l’alphabet avant de finir, peut-être, à B.

      Donc j’aimerais en garder l’essence, mais comment le faire de façon fluide pour les lecteurs? Est-ce qu’il faudrait mettre plus de links, notamment sur les termes scientifiques? Rester plus longtemps sur une histoire? Plus de pause et d’espace?

      Merci trop pour ton commentaire constructif.

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