Five Factors Underlying Friendship

Prolog: actually I am studying for my FINAL EXAMINATION on next week. So, I do this just to review my thesis in order to always patching on my brain. This is one of the easiest ways to study.


According to Robert S. Fieldman in his book, Social Psychology: Theories, Research, and Application, there are five things underlying interpersonal attraction they are similarity, reciprocity of liking, positive qualities, physical attractiveness and liking, and physical appearance and social behavior.


a. Similarity

Similarity is the first thing that influences the friendship. Almost dyads are based on similarity. It is because first, similarity may be directly reinforcing. Second, the fact that someone else has attitude or qualities similar to our own may lead to a sense of confirmation of our views of the world.

In experiment, Donn Byrne (1971) and his colleagues captured the essence of Laura’s experience. Over and over again, they found that the more similar someone’s attitudes are to your own, the more likable you will find the person. Likeness produces liking not only for college students but also for children and the elderly, for people of various occupations, and for those in various cultures.

This is especially so for those who are satisfy with themselves. If you like yourself, you are likely to have partner with someone like you.


b.  Reciprocity of Liking

As we mentioned earlier, there is robust general finding regarding reciprocity of liking: we tend to like those who like us. Given information that another individual likes us, we tend to be attracted to that person. The converse process seems to hold true as well: when we like someone, we tend to assume that they like us in return.

But the feeling of liking someone is not always show by the words directly. It can be show indirectly through behavior.


c.  Positive Qualities

It is hardly surprising that people with meritorious qualities should be liked more than those with disagreeable qualities. For example, we like intelligent, warm, sincere, and competent people more than people who do not have those attributes.

But sheer positivity is not the whole story. Sometimes we prefer people who display positive qualities that are a bit tarnished by negative ones over people who seem to be without flaw. An example of this was provided in a study by Aronson, Willerman, & Floyd (1966), who had either a very competent or an average individual commit or not commit a pratfall, which consisted of clumsily spilling a cup of coffee. The results showed that liking for the competent person increased after a pratfall, while liking tended to decrease for the average person. The explanation is straightforward Very competent people who commit a blunder become more human and approachable and, thus, more attractive. On the other hand, the average person gains little from a blunder, since he or she is already seen as human enough.

Although later research has shown that relationship between competence and attraction is also related to the self-esteem of the person doing the rating, the basic fact remains: we tend to prefer competent people to incompetent ones.


d.  Physical Attractiveness and Liking

In an egalitarian and democratic society, most people would agree that people ought to be judged for what they are and what they do, rather than what they look like. Yet, despite general agreement with the old saying, “Beauty is only skin deep.” It turns out that most people act as if physical attractiveness were a good indicant of how likable a person is. The physical appearance of an individual can be an important aspect of how that person is viewed by others—however unwarranted such a bias may be.

People who are physically attractive are regarded more highly than unattractive ones with startling consistency, starting with nursery-school-age children and continuing into old age. Indeed, not only are they liked more, but people make more positive interpretations of the behavior of the physically attractive.


e.  Physical Appearance and Social Behavior

While the data regarding the relationship between attraction and physical appearance are clearly positive, the question of how appearance is related to subsequent behavior is more ambiguous. We might expect that since people tend to form more ambiguous. We might expect that since people tend to form more favorable impressions about the physically attractive, they will act more positive self-images and interpersonal styles, which lead them to become more effective during social interactions than less people. Following this reasoning, we could expect physically attractive people to have a greater number of and more rewarding social encounters.

Most of the evidence that has been collected regarding the social encounters of the physically attractive, and the results have been in the context of dating behavior, and the results have been fairly consistent, showing that attractive people are chosen as dating partners more frequently than less attractive people. Moreover, self-reports of popularity are correlated with attractiveness.



To get the Indonesian version article, please click here.


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