Relationships and Power of Love, Essay Example
Attractions, types, and components of love such as companionate, passionate, compassionate, intimacy and commitments are daily occurrences in people’s social lives. Although most, if not all of these concepts are used interchangeably, their effects have created intriguing fields to research on as far as social psychology is concerned. It is through these concepts that bonds, families, communities and societies are built. Feenstra (2011, 179) explains that people have gone as far as using technology such as the internet in finding love so as to fulfill the part of the human life filled by these concepts. It is the need to belong that makes people develop attractions and love for other individuals.
There are six main factors of attraction. These include similarity, familiarity, propinquity, physical attractiveness, reciprocity, and complementarity. Familiarity involves the knowledge of somebody or the close acquaintance of the same. This means that people are more likely to be attracted to someone they are familiar with more than they will be attracted to a stranger. In other words, one can be attracted to a former classmate at a reunion, more than they will be attracted at a person they met in a park. Propinquity is also referred to as proximity. This means that we are likely to get attracted to people whom we have constant interaction with. This is different from familiarity because propinquity involves a repetition of activities, which are the constant interactions. Essentially, most people have a higher likelihood of getting attracted to their workmates, neighbors, classmates, amongst other people they interact with constantly.
Physical attractiveness engages the attraction that results from ones looks. Hewston, Stroebe, and Jonas (2011) explain that more than fifty percent of the attractions occurred due to physical attractiveness. Additionally, men have higher chances of getting into relationships due to physical attractions as compared to women. Similarity entails someone getting attracted to another because of their “look-a-like” with the other party. One is more likely to befriend one from his/her own culture and background as opposed to one from another culture or different background. The similarities between the two parties give both parties a sense of belonging and thus the attraction.
Reciprocity is the term used when ones actions are reciprocated by the other party. In this case, people will like those who reciprocate their liking. For example, if one make a call enquiring of the other party’s well-being and then the other party calls back to enquire of the same at a different time, these two are most likely to get attracted to each other as opposed to one whose call is not reciprocated. Complementarity entails attractions that arise from liking what someone does not have. People tend to get attracted to those who complement them. For example, an up-tight man is likely to get married to someone with some element humor.
People have an innate need to belong. This is because they want stable and strong relationships to depend or turn to when they in order to avoid that feeling of loneliness or want. Therefore, people create bonds. Whether family bonds or other bonds, people associate this feeling of belonging to their emotions. People want to belong to a place, a family, a social class, a group, amongst other things. A sense of belonging is connected to attachments. When one belongs to a certain family, place or group that he/she becomes attached to it. Attachments and emotions are inseparable and thus a sense of belonging is inseparable with emotions (Gilovich, Keltner & Nisbett, 2006). Therefore, rich people can easily be attracted to each other. Because of these attachments and creation of emotions, the fear of deprivation leads people to act in various ways in an attempt to avoid deprivation. Family members go to considerable lengths to make each other happy for fear of getting deprived the family love.
Companionate love is characterized by trust, comfort, shared experiences, and deep caring for another individual. Commitment is another characteristic in companionate love. It tends to increase with time. Such love is found in deep friendships and marriages. Passionate love is characterized by physical attraction, emotional arousal, and intense desire. This form of love is found in the early stages of a romantic relationship. It decreases with time. The compassionate love is characterized by care giving and self-giving. In this form of love, one tends to achieve the requirements of the other person without necessarily getting concerned the reciprocal of his/her actions. This love is experienced by parent and child or friendships that have been there for a long time (Feenstra, 2011).
According to Sternberg’s Triangular theory, romantic love is characterized by passion and intimacy. Intimacy is defined as ones feelings of bonds and closeness to another individual while passion is defined as expressions of needs and desires or physically being drawn to another individual. Empty love is characterized by commitment alone. Commitment is either long-term or short-term. In the short-term commitment, one decides to love another individual for a given period while in the long-term commitment; one decides to stay with another individual for a long time. Infatuation is characterized by passion alone.
Through the sense of belonging, people are able to develop attractions and love, be it companionate, passionate, or compassionate love. People can also be attracted to other individuals due to similarity, familiarity, reciprocity, physical attractiveness, complementarity, and proximity. In whatever circumstances, the failure or success of these relationships is dependent on how the individuals treat them. One should know when to be passionate, they should let the companionate grow, and one should know when to commit. The compassionate love, which is found in family relationships and friendships, should also be taken care.
Feenstra, J. (2011). Introduction to Social Psychology. San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education, Inc.
Gilovich, T., Keltner, D., & Nisbett, R. E. (2006). Social psychology. New York, W.W. Norton.
Hewstone, M. Stroebe, W. & Jonas, K. (2011). New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons
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