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Social Comparison Theory

Interpersonal attraction in simple words is the force that acts between two individuals and brings them together to form friendship or other types of relationships. It can be any form of positive attitude towards another person such as affiliation, wanting to be with another person or liking or love or friendship. Man by nature is a social animal and if this need is not met due to social exclusion or rejection one tends to react in a negative manner such as an increase in stress and anxiety and low self-esteem which is often followed by decreased physical health. The need for affiliation in my life is extremely pertinent to me leading a happy life. I have always been known to be a social butterfly. I cannot survive in isolation.

Friendships are extremely important. One needs to develop bonds with others so that in times of stress distress I can have a shoulder to cry on. The importance of love in my life is extremely important as I always need someone to share my success with ,my troubles with .The need to belong is very strong in me and the need for a strong and stable relationship to ground me and make me feel love and protected and worthy. Also a lot of factors contribute to the sort of people I am attracted to .For me proximity and similarity play an important role in me forming strong connections with others. My best friends live 10 minutes away. My husband has a lot of similar habits as mine hence why we have a strong bond.

“Man is at one and the same time, a solitary being and a social being.”

Social comparison theory determines our worth based on others. We are impacted by others through comparing ourselves with them, especially with the social media we wish our lives to be more exciting and glamorous as those portrayed in the media. Leon Festinger the pioneer of the social comparison theory claims that we are constantly searching for the truthful self-evaluations and self enhancement and hence we tend to compare ourselves to those around us to gain more clarity. This helps build a sense of identity. We make upward or downward comparisons. For example a person looks at a picture of a beautiful model and wishes to be just like her this is upward comparison as she feels the model is better looking than her and she aspires to be just like her. Upward comparison is a source of inspiration and sets a goal for one to try to achieve. On the other hand downward comparison offers instant relief and comfort. For example a person compares his beautiful lavish glamorous house to that of his less earning colleague’s mediocre house and feels superior and better than his colleague.

The most significant reason for the need for affiliation according to the social comparison theory is the fact that we determine our social and personal worth by comparing to others and seeing how we stack up against them. We constantly make self-evaluations based on a variety of domains i.e. attractiveness, wealth success intelligence social status. We have the social skills and impulses to keep our envy hidden but regardless they tend to come out in subtle ways.

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