Relationships and Communication: Hard to Get vs. Easy to Get

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Relationships and Communication It is inevitable that we meet a person who agrees with everything someone says, just to be accepted. Though it makes us feel good to have our thoughts validated by someone agreeing with our attitudes, at what point does a person’s unselective agreement begin to do more harm than good? One major influence to this study is what Walster, Walster, Piliavin and Schmidt termed the elusive phenomenon. The elusive phenomenon refers to the commonly held concept that the more elusive a person of romantic interest is, the more other people will desire that person. What Walster et al. thought would be a simple research investigation turned out to be much more complicated than expected. These researchers believed, as popular culture would have us believe, that because a woman is hard-to-get, this alone makes her more valued, or a more desired prize. In other words, a popular woman has reason, and ability to be more selective in choosing their dating partners. On the other hand, if a woman is easy-to-get this is automatically a signal that the woman is likely desperate for a date, any date and that she is likely to put significant pressure on a dating partner and the relationship to get serious quickly. Walster et al. continued on this line of thinking for five research studies, and with each one they failed to support their hypothesis, that is they failed to show that a woman who is hard-to-get is valuable simply on the basis that she is hard-to-get. What they soon discovered is that following the logic of popular culture was getting them nowhere. After returning to the drawing board Walster et al. finally hit the jackpot. They considered that there instead were two parts to consider, ‘(a) How hard or easy ... ... middle of paper ... ...vcu.edu/10.4135/9781412958479.n433 Eastwick, P. W., Finkel, E. J., Mochon, D., & Ariely, D. (2007). Selective versus unselective romantic desire: Not all reciprocity is created equal. Psychological Science, 18(4), 317-319. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9280.2007.01897.x Montoya, R. M., & Insko, C. (2008). Toward a more complete understanding of the reciprocity of liking effect. European Journal of Social Psychology, 38, 477–498. Walster, E., Walster, G. W., Piliavin, J., & Schmidt, L. (1973). 'playing hard to get': Understanding an elusive phenomenon. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 26(1), 113-121. doi: 10.1037/h0034234 Wright, R. A., & Contrada, R. J. (1986). Dating selectivity and interpersonal attraction: Toward a better understanding of the 'elusive phenomenon'. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 3(2), 131-148. doi: 10.1177/0265407586032001
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