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Relationships with the individuals around us are key to ones social existence. Personal accounts by people who have been isolated from the outside world serve as a reminder of our dependence on others. What draws us into these “relationships”? Studies of interpersonal attraction have concluded that people are attracted mostly to those that they find physically attractive and who are geographically close.
The first step to understanding why we are attracted to certain individuals we must first understand an individuals person perception or the process of forming impressions of others. First impressions often help us to determine whether we are attracted to another individual. Our first impressions of an individual has a great impact on our perception of that person, even though we encounter that person for only a brief period of time. When we perceive a person we account for both the positive and negative characteristics of that individual. Although most people seem to be interested in another individual’s positive characteristics, the negative information is usually weighed so heavily that it overrules all the positive information about that person.
What makes another person attractive? Researchers have identified five factors that are important in determining whether we are likely to find another person attractive. These factors are physical attractiveness, proximity, competence, mutual attraction or liking, similarity or complementarity of interest and beliefs.
Physical attractiveness is the most important factor in the early stages of relationships. In general, people are more likely to interact with people who they find physically attractive. As Krebs and Adinolfi once stated “there is a growing body of evidence which shows that the average person drastically underestimates the influence of physical attractiveness…”. Although this factor is highly important in affecting the initial attraction, it tends to diminish over time.
Physical closeness or proximity is another important factor in interpersonal attraction. Obviously, in order to meet, two people must share close proximity. The sharing of this space will help you to get to know a person better. In some cases becoming more familiar with an individual can lead to a dislike of that individual. More often, though, getting to know someone leads to a deeper relationship with that individual. .
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 competent may suffer a loss of attractiveness, because the individual’s around them feel inferior when near them.
Attraction is defined as a force that draws people together. Often times one individual's attraction of another will lead to a liking in return. One possible reason for this is that liking someone actually makes you more physically attractive. Many times a person will improve on their physical appearance to get others to notice. For example, when one wears more fashionable clothing. Another reason that one’s attraction leads to mutual attraction is that you tend to be nicer to the people that you like, which in return makes you more attractive to them.
We are most attracted to and become more involved with individuals that share similar backgrounds, educational levels, beliefs, values. But what about the theory that opposites attract? The principle of complementarity states that people are attracted to others whose traits or characteristics supplement or contrast their own. This is illustrated by the belief that outgoing individuals are attracted to individuals who are shy and reserved. Statistics show that individuals in long-term relationships prefer to associate with other people who are similar to them.
Application of interpersonal attraction do not deal just with the search for love, but stem into the work environment and the classroom . Many researchers used personality test to find suitable college roommates. Also, studies have concluded that students tend to have higher grades if they relate well with the teacher.
In conclusion, people tend to be attracted to individuals who are physically attractive, physically accessible and socially available; and similar in terms of purposes, backgrounds, beliefs, and needs. However , interpersonal attraction is not the only factor that effects the building of a strong and health relationship. A good relationship requires communication and the ability to adapt to one another
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