Why Do We Like Each Other?

                                                                                                         

The first monk said: " I say the banner is moving, not the wind."  The second monk said: I say the wind is moving, not the banner:" The third monk said: " The wind is not moving your minds are moving." Who is right?

Is not every situation in a relationship similar to the story illustrated by the monks? Do you see how the " story always represents the storyteller"?

You may also be interested in the story of the "Three Blind Men" which can be viewed via the

 hyperlink  from which we are very grateful to yen@noognesis for this great rendition.[2]

Interpersonal relations theories  may be quite complex in explaining all variables perfectly as

illustrated by the following: stories of the three monks and the three blind men.

There are innumerable theories relating to the explanation of the interpersonal attraction process. No single theory seems complete in predicting to explain the vast array of outcomes which are possible when two people get together. Perhaps, you have your favorite theory. Here are four common ones: reinforcement, exchange, equity, and gain-loss theory.

According to Donn Byrne and Gerald Clore and others people who arouse positive feelings in us will be liked by us. Conversely, those who arouse negative feelings in us will be disliked.

Social psychologists George C. Homans and John Thibaut and Harold Kelly suggest that interpersonal relations can be compared to a market place. Each person tries to get what is more valuable to him/her and give back what is less costly. In this theory it is postulated that a sort of credit and debit column is tabulated. So long as people think that what they are getting is fair and equitable the relationship continues.

Elaine Walster, G. William Walster and Elaine Bershied postulated equity theory which posed two very basic questions: what do people think is essentially fair and equitable and how do they respond if they get more or less than they think is what they deserve?. So long as people think that what they are getting is fair and equitable the relationship continues.

 Elliot Aronson postulates further that changes in the evaluation of us will have a more profound affect on the relationship than if other's opinion of us go unchanged. He hypothesized that we may be so inclined to like a person more whose opinion of us increases over time than the person who has liked us all along. Conversely, we may be inclined to dislike a person whose opinion becomes negative of us more than the person who has always held a negative opinion of us. [1]

How would you use the above theories to explain the relationship you have with your friend/friends? How about your relationship with your loved ones? Your parents? Which theory has more appeal to you? Perhaps, you have your own theory, or choose to combine them. Can you find any exceptions to the theory? Interpersonal relations theories  may be quite complex in explaining all variables perfectly as illustrated by the following: stories of the three monks and the three blind men.

    1. Don Hamachek, Encounter with Others: Interpersonal Relationships and You, New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1982 pp. 44-48
    2. Duen HsiYen,
 en@noognesis, http://www.noogenesis.com, 1998 ( Permission granted. )

E-mail: rbrehm@msn.com
Copyright 1998  [Robert Brehm]. All rights reserved.