Interpersonal Attraction

Topics: Interpersonal attraction, Physical attractiveness, Sexual attraction Pages: 8 (2891 words) Published: April 16, 2006
Interpersonal attraction can be defined as how and what attracts us to individuals. As a college student, I am constantly judging people by the first moment I meet them because I am frequently searching for friends and relations in my life. What sparked my interest to research this topic was my fondness for the opposite sex. I was curious as to what attracted to me to certain men and not others. Initially, I believed I was drawn solely to men from a physical attraction in an original engagement, but I found that there is more to this matter. Although physicality is a large degree of interpersonal attraction, research proves that there are several other determining factors playing a part in attraction on first encounters. The most profound principles I found underlying the first interactions are proximity, similarity, and physicality. It is our natural proclivity as human beings to decide whom we are drawn to even as infants. After much research from psychologists, I accumulated evidence explicating what necessitates interpersonal attraction for various people and its significance in every day life. We are constantly meeting new people, seeing new faces, and choosing whether we feel attractions to individuals consciously or not. Thus, the initial meeting of other people is very influential in the possibility of forming a general relationship and/ or attraction. Since interpersonal attraction is seldom discussed, I found the need to explicate in depth what it implies. In general, attraction is an individual's portrayal of positive attitudes and responses towards someone in a positive manner. For decades, scientists thought that attraction standards were culturally based, but recent studies in this past decade have proven that there truly are psychological means for what makes humans attracted to one another (Symons, 1995). This can come in the form of positive characteristics, positive emotions experienced, and/or positive actions. The ability to decide who is good or bad for one's self in different realms, ranging from one's occupation to their mate, is "considered critical for their well-being and survival" (Kazdin, 2000, p. 317). Hence, the importance of interpersonal attraction is its ability to establish possible short term or long term important relations in one's life. The initial attraction occurs when one cognitively judges another based on distinguishing traits. This prognosis is developed by the combination of the three principles of interpersonal attraction I previously introduced: proximity, similarity, and physicality (Symons, 1995). 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.

Although proximity increases attraction in the same job environment, proximity outside of the job is...

References: Bashton, F. (1992). Interpersonal Attraction. Social Psychology. Chicago: University of Chicago.
Gilbert, D. (1998). The Concept of Attraction. The Handbook of Social Psychology. Vol. 2 (pp. 202-215). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
Hendricks, C. (1998). Cultural Aspects of Physical Attraction. Miami University.
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Icek, A. (1995). Attraction. The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Social Psychology. Vol. 2
Johnson, M. (2000). The Theory of Attraction. Retrieved February 2, 2006, from
Kazdin, A. (2000). Attraction. Encyclopedia of Psychology. Vol. 1 (pp.317-320).
Samter, T. (1996). Attraction. Retrieved February 2, 2006, from
Symons, G. (1995). Attraction. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.
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