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 comp