Sunday, October 7, 2007

Friendships and Relationships- Why we form the friendships we do

Hi all,

I thought that it was about time that I got my act together and started posting some of my ideas for blog 2.

My blog 2 topic is: What factors influence the likelihood of becoming friends with another person? Discuss in relation to your own relationships and friendships

So, this got me to thinking, why am I friends with certain people? What attracted me to those people?and What factors influenced whether or not a liked a certain person? I went over the lecture notes and text book readings and split everything up under some of the major theories of attraction and relationships:

Propinquity- mere exposure, proximity, or how close and how often we are exposed to certain others.

Well, a large majority of my relationships (if not all) may be largely influenced by propinquity. I am “exposed” to all of friends on a regular basis (obviously- they are my friends after all). The reason for forming the majority of these relationships was because I either went to school with them, worked with them, go to uni with them, they are a friend of a friend or friend of the family… the list goes on and on. But in all cases, I was exposed to these people on a regular basis before the friendship started. I lost contact with those friends that moved away after school or started working full time and though I would still consider them a friend, I haven’t really spoken to them in 4 or 5 years. So, I am guessing that nearly all of my relationships are influenced by this theory of propinquity.

One story comes to mind when I think of this- I met my current boyfriend (who I consider to also be a friend) through a friend and I absolutely hated him, I thought he was arrogant and annoying and he thought he was so funny- needless to say, I wasn’t impressed. But, he really liked me, so he kept turning up at parties I went to, dinners with my friends etc. The more I got to know him, the more I liked him, though I never admitted it to him (treat ‘em mean to keep ‘em keen :) ). In the end, I accepted an invitation from him to go on a date. On our first date I found out he lived four doors away from my house (no joke- I had never seen him before in my life). Long story short, we are still together, though I think that if he wasn’t so set on stalking me : ) to try and win me over I would have never spoken to him ever again, and I would only remember him as that rude guy I met at dinner one time.

Reciprocity- Liking someone who already likes you

See story above. I can’t remember ever really liking someone who didn’t like me back- so I guess I am either lucky or naïve, i met alot of my friends through friends, and we normally hit it off straight away. But I do remember in high school disliking a girl who was in my group of friends. Long story short, she liked me and was always trying to be nice to me (I guess she sensed I didn’t like her that much), in the end she wore me down and to this day we are still great friends. Again, my relationships are influenced by yet another theory of social psych- reciprocity.

Similarity- attitudes, values, interests, beliefs, religion, SES, age, gender etc.

This whole ‘birds of a feather flock together’ theory never really sat well with me. I think it is because I like to think of myself as unique and different, though when it comes down to it- I really am very similar to my friends. The majority of my close friends are girls, most are catholic and went to a private school, we are all of very similar SES and age, we all have the same interests, most go to uni and we are all roughly the same in levels of IQ. In fact, thinking about it now, a lot of us are like mini clones of each other (so scary). We talk the same, dress the same, like the same foods, like the same people etc. Clearly, I am attracted to people similar to myself- another social psych theory to tick off my list. And here I was thinking that I was unique!!!

Beauty/Matching Hypothesis- the proposition that people tend to pair up with others who are equally attractive

Let’s not go into how beautiful I think I am- I mean how beautiful my friends are :)

Familiarity breeds liking- familiarity and repeated exposure can sometimes make you like someone more (or less if you think they are annoying)

I discussed a lot of this in point 1

That is as far as I have gotten at this stage. Please let me know if there are any other theories you would like me to explore… I am open to all suggestions. I am also interested in any examples that you may have from your own relationships that deviate from these theories of social attraction.

Talk again soon!

6 comments:

Rebekah said...

Hi Emma,

Oh yay.. it seems that we have complementary topics. I am discussing 'why are some people considered attractive'
and am discussing
* Propinquity
* Reciprocity
* Similarity
* Reinforcement
* Beauty- facial symmetry, body composition etc..

Your initial analysis seems really thorough...
If you find anything ineteresting or I find any good articles- Ill post them.

Good luck. xx

James Neill said...

I'm glad you two have found each other!

This raises I think the question that although these topics are similiar (attraction and similarity), we should consider their differences. Friendship, I'd suggest, is a more special form of attraction.

So, Emma, whilst the attraction theories are relevant, hopefully you can also identify literature that examines friendships in more depth.

PS I like your title

kelg85 said...

Interesting theories, but they all kind of seem similar, what about the age old saying 'opposites attract?'

ellen said...

haha if only anthony knew you were discussing your romantic meeting on here for all to see! so im thinking im in the category where we start off off hating each other?

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