Attraction Intimacy

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					Attraction and Intimacy

                     Quips and Quotes                        Attraction and intimacy form two ends of a continuum of
                                                             relationship closeness. This lesson considers all aspects
                                                             of what attracts us to others, what others find attractive
            Intimacy ….. "into me you see".                  in us, and leads into a consideration of how that
                                                             attraction deepens into intimacy.

 Lesson Objectives               Why are we attracted to people?
                                 What is intimacy in a relationship?
                                 What is the relationship between gender and intimacy?
                                 What influence does culture have on intimacy?

 Suggested Instructional         Discussion: Attraction and relationships
 Strategies                           o Why do you like some people more than others?
                                      o What attracts you to members of the same gender?
       Direct                        o What attracts you to members of the opposite gender?
       Independent                   o What qualities do you most admire in an intimate relationship?
       Interactive              Research/Discussion: Beauty
       Indirect                      o Is society biased towards beauty? Cite evidence to support this position?
       Experiential                  o What are the cultural differences in what is considered to be beautiful? Find
                                          examples from a variety of cultures to illustrate what various cultures consider
                                          to be beautiful. What are the features of attractive/beautiful people in various
                                      o Gender differences and beauty: What are the characteristics of beautiful males
                                          and females? Is there common consensus as to what it means to be beautiful?
                                      o Design and conduct a research project investigating people’s interpretations of
                                          beauty. Do our definitions of beauty change as we get older?
                                      o What is the relationship between beauty and:
                                                   leadership
                                                   self-esteem
                                                   careers/jobs
                                                   popularity
                                                   body image
                                                   psychological disorders such as eating disorders, social phobias and
                                                    anxiety disorders?
                                   Jigsaw: Theoretical perspectives on attraction
                                        o Divide the class in to six groups and assign one of the theoretical perspectives
                                            to each group.
                                        o Have each group create a role play, or skit, that illustrates how its theoretical
                                            perspective explains attraction.

 Making Connections                Refer to Topic 4.3.2, Love, for more information on attraction.

 Resources                         Interactions , Unit 3: How do we make sense of our world, “Beauty”
                                   Interactions : Dear Pat, “Wondering in Wishart”

Lesson 4.3.1: Teacher Information

Why are we attracted to people?

Why are we attracted to people? There are several reasons:

      SimilarityWe like people who are similar to us in terms of interests, attitudes or experiences. Differences strengthen a relationship when
       they are complementary, that is, when each partner's characteristics satisfy the other's needs. Research over the past 20 years into
       successful and unsuccessful couples demonstrates that partners in successful marriages were similar enough to satisfy each other
       mentally and physically, but were different enough to meet each other's needs and keep the relationship interesting. Why is similarity
       so important in attraction? There are at least two possibilities. First, people who are similar provide us with important social validation
       for our characteristics and beliefsthat is, they provide us with the feeling that we are right. Second, it is likely that we make certain
       negative inferences about the character of someone who disagrees with us on important issuesnot necessarily out of the need to be
       validated, but because we suspect the individual's opinion is indicative of the kind of person we have found in the past to be unpleasant,
       immoral, weak or thoughtless. The research evidence for complementarity is mixed at best, and based on only a few studies (Aronson et
       al., 1994, p. 386).
      Reciprocal attractionWe like people who like us, usually. The power of reciprocal attraction is especially strong in the early stages of a
       relationship. People who approve of us bolster our self-esteem.
      Gain-loss effect is the finding that we like people the most if we feel we have gained in their estimation of us (e.g., if they initially disliked
       us but now like us), and that we dislike people the most if we feel we have lost their favour (Aronson et al., 1994, p. 391).
      CompetenceWe like to be around talented people, probably because we hope that their skills and abilities will rub off on us.
      Disclosure - Revealing important information about yourself can help build liking. When people share private and personal information
       with you, it suggests they trust and respect you.
      One of the simplest determinants of interpersonal attraction is proximity. The people who, by chance, are the ones you see and interact
       with the most often are the most likely to become your friends and lovers. Even in a choice as important as a marriage partner,
       proximity plays a major role. Researchers have found that most people marry someone who sits nearby in the same classroom, lives in
       the same neighbourhood, or works in the same office or factory. The proximity effect works because of familiarity, or the mere
       exposure we have to individuals who are nearby (Aronson et al., 1994, p. 373).
      Physical attractionOne of the most striking things about the physical attraction phenomenon is that most people assume physical
       attraction is highly correlated with other desirable traits. Men and women believe that attractive people are more successful, more
       intelligent, better adjusted, more socially skilled, more interesting, more poised, more exciting, more independent and more sexual than
       their less attractive counterparts. Beauty constitutes a powerful stereotype (Aronson et al., 1994, p. 377).
      The reinforcement-affect model predicts that people will be attracted to someone whom they associate with good feelings, even if the
       person was not the cause (Alcock et al., 1998, p. 213).

What is intimacy in a relationship?

Burgess and Huston (1979) suggest the following outline as a consensus of opinion on the subject of intimacy:

      The two people interact more often for a longer time and in more situations than do less intimate friends or acquaintances.
      When apart, they attempt to restore proximity.
      They “open up to each other”, revealing secrets, feelings, praise and criticism.
      They develop their own ways of communicating.
      Each develops the ability to anticipate how the other will behave and feel.
      Their behaviours and goals become synchronizednot identical, but they do not get in each other’s way.
       Each becomes increasingly invested in the relationship.
       Increasingly, the self-interest of each depends on the well-being of the relationship.
       They see the relationship as virtually irreplaceable and unique.
       They tend to relate to others as a pair, or couple.
       They like, love and trust each other (Alcock et al., 1998, p. 219).

How can we describe an intimate relationship?

Erikson believed that a prerequisite for intimacy was the attainment of identity (the reconciliation of all of our various roles into one
enduring and stable personality). Identity is necessary because we cannot know what it means to love someone and seek to share our
life with them until we know who we are and what we want to do with our lives. Thus, genuine intimacy requires us to give up some
of our sense of separateness, and we must each have a firm identity to do this (Gross and McIlveen, 1998, p. 419).

What are the different styles of intimate interaction?

Young adults show different styles of intimate attraction. Psychologist Jacob Orlofsky (1976) developed a classification of five styles
of intimate relationships:

       In the intimate style, the individual forms and maintains one or more deep and long-lasting love relationships.
       In the preintimate style, the individual shows mixed emotions about commitment, an ambivalence that is reflected in the strategy of
        offering love without obligations or long-lasting bonds.
       In the stereotyped style, the individual has superficial relationships that tend to be dominated by friendship ties with same-sex rather
        than opposite-sex individuals.
       In the pseudointimate style, the individual maintains a long-lasting sexual attachment with little or no depth or closeness.
       In the isolated style, the individual withdraws from social encounters and has little or no social contact with same- or opposite-sex
        individuals (Santrock, 1999, p. 425).

What is the relationship between gender and intimacy?

Most research does show that women (taken as a group) are more willing than men to share their thoughts and feelings. In terms of
the amount and depth of information shared, female-female relationships are at the top of the disclosure list. Male-female
relationships come in second while relationships between men involve less disclosure than any other type. At every age, women
disclose more than men and the information they reveal is more personal and more likely to include negative information, men are
more likely to share positive feelings. Unlike women who prefer personal talk, men grow close to one another by doing things. Men
regard practical help as a measure of caring (Adler et al., 2001, p. 328).

What influence does culture have on intimacy?

The greatest differences between Asian and European cultures focuses on the rules for dealing with intimacy: showing emotions,
expressing affection in public, engaging in sexual activity and respecting privacy. Disclosure is especially high in North American
society. In fact, people from the United States are more disclosing than members of any culture studied. They are likely to disclose
more about themselves to acquaintances, and even strangers. By contrast, Germans and Japanese tend to disclose little about
themselves except in personal relationships with a select few (Adler et al., 2001, p. 330).

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