In today’s world the market place economy dominates in all aspects of culture and interpersonal interactions. Interpersonal attraction is also dominated by market ideas. The theories of interpersonal attraction emerged in western capitalist societies and reflect therefore common social ideas of rewards, costs, and fairness. Social exchange theory states that relationship liking depends on outcomes that is defined as the rewards minus the costs of a relationship. The theory suggests that relationships have rewards, but also costs and the rewards must be larger for the relationship to be lasting and satisfying. Our satisfaction may also to some degree depend on past relationships that serve as a comparison level. Equity theory states that contentment depends on equity, the give and take in a relationship. Essentially equality and fairness is what governs relationship satisfaction from this perspective. In modern times this perspective in intimate relations leads to tiresome negotiations, issues perhaps better solved by consensus about division of responsibilities.
The third factor of interpersonal attraction is competence. People tend to be attracted to individuals with the same qualities that they possess, such as intelligence, strength, social skill, education, and athleticism. People who appear too comp
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Proximity, in this text, is the distance one is relative to residences or workplaces and can be identified by availability of others. Proximity also associates with communicative distance, which is, who is in people’s “communicative network” and how reachable they are for contact (Icek, 1995, p. 59). The more people one has to go through to reach an individual, the more doubtful interpersonal attraction will arise. For instance, this is true even to the people I sit next to in my classes; I am more apt to become friends with those sitting next to me than someone across the room because the most proximate students are highly accessible. People are more likely to be attracted to those who are short distances because they are much easier to be in contact with than someone who is far away (Johnson, 2000). For example, the people in the same work environment are likely to be friends with each other or at least acquaintances since the availability for attraction is extremely close by. When I worked at Victoria’s Secret, those were the girls I became friends with immediately, not workers in other stores. Distance is very influential in who people become attracted to because the physically closest people are highly accessible for contact.
Similarity and proximity, on the other hand, were mentioned with lower frequency. Perhaps these variables seem obvious and therefore do not become part of our memory or consciousness. Similarity and proximity may still play very important roles in interpersonal attraction. They respectively focus attention on those deemed eligible and of interest, and on opportunities for encounters. Similar reports emphasizing the importance of the attraction variables, reciprocal liking, attractiveness, similarity, and proximity, have been obtained from memory reports of initial encounters in other cultures as well (Aron & Rodriquez, 1992; Sprecher, Aron, Hatfield, Cortese, Potapova, & Levitskaya, 1994).Evolutionary psychology would assert that gender differences exist because they are functional to the survival of the species. “What leads to maximum reproductive success?” is the question posed by evolutionary psychology (Buss & Kenrick, 1998). Women invest much effort and time in bringing a child into the world. To be successful in reproduction requires that women have stable partners with adequate economic and other resources. In the days of the caveman that meant a good cave, warm fire, and ability to provide game. In our day women look for good earning potential. Men on the other hand invest little, and can impregnate several females. For men therefore the key factor is physical attractiveness. In our evolutionary history men learned that youth and attractiveness is more sexually arousing, and incidentally these qualities in women are associated with fertility and health – men are not looking for fertility and health in the first place, but for good sex.