Social Exchange Theory For Analysis Essay

Social Exchange Theory For Analysis Essay

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Throughout the lifetime of an average human being, one will meet thousands of people, form hundreds of acquaintances, make many close friends, and have multiple romantic relationships. The idea that what encourages an individual to voluntarily turn an acquaintance into a close friend, or into a romantic partner, is that the relationship is seen as profitable is called the Social Exchange Theory. The basis of Social Exchange Theory is that individuals tend to choose to form or continue relationships where the rewards outweigh the costs of the relationship. I chose the Social Exchange theory for analysis because I saw a direct application of it in my recent personal life. Throughout this paper, I will be analyzing the application of this theory to the decision-making that went into forming a new romantic relationship with my now boyfriend, Bruno.
To briefly summarize Social Exchange Theory, it is described as a calculated cost-benefit analysis formula that looks something like as follows: rewards - costs = likelihood of formation or continuation of relationship in question. An important part of this theory is that factors considered costs and rewards are completely subjective. In other words, something that may be a cost to one person could be considered a reward to another. Some examples of potential costs of a relationship are time consumption, depending on the partner, exclusivity of the relationship, being tied down, and stress and worry about the potential fallout of the relationship. A few examples of potential rewards of a relationship are companionship, acceptance, support, intimacy, and having a confidant. Another key point of this theory is that although people do feel it’s necessary to reciprocate these rewards, the dist...


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...r start a relationship comes down to whether the rewards outweigh the costs or not. Humans base the worth of a relationship on its profitability. Bruno and I’s decision to go into a relationship with each other was based on the fact that the pros outweighed the cons of the potential relationship. We also discussed which rewards we would need to reciprocate to each other to keep the relationship seemingly profitable. Since we were able to be so open about what each of us saw a reward and a cost, the line of communication between us is very clear. We both know what the other requires to stay happy in the relationship and what could be potentially damaging. Even more importantly, this has allowed us to form a very close relationship where we feel very secure in disclosing personal information with the other person despite the short amount of time we’ve known each other.

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