Interpersonal Attractions

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Interpersonal attraction is the attraction between people which leads to friendships and romantic relationships. Three major principles guide attraction and relationship formation: proximity, similarity, and reciprocity.

One of the major influences on interpersonal attraction is proximity. Proximity is a physical nearness that can be a predictor of attraction. For example, people who work together, live by each other, or are in the same classes would typically be more attracted to each other. The mere exposure effect helps play a role in this principle of attraction because our attraction to someone increases the more we see them.


Proximity has played a key role in my current relationship. My boyfriend lives in my neighborhood which resulted in us hanging out every day. Because we saw each other so much and became really close, our attraction of each other increased.

Have you ever heard the saying opposites attract and likes repel? Well, this isn't necessarily the case. Similarity is another predictor of attractions. Those who are share the same qualities and like the same sorts of thing are more likely to become attracted to one another. Online dating services have caught on to the fact that similarity raises content which is why they try to match up people that have things in common.


The last predictor of attraction is reciprocity. Reciprocity is the give and take in a relationship. We tend to feel obligated to give what we get and maintain equity in a relationship. It reflects the idea that people feel better about themselves knowing that they are likeable and they enjoy the company of those who give them positive feelings. So for example: if someone told you they liked you, your attraction towards that person would increase.

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Nice summary and examples.

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This page contains a single entry by carl4268 published on November 3, 2011 11:46 AM.

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