Friendship and the theories of Friendship.

Essay by cyndyfun September 2005

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Friendship is defined by Philip Zimbardo as a relationship between people characterized by intimacy but not by passion and commitment. Zimbardo uses his reward theory to show us how people get attracted to each other, being it friendship or a relationship. The idea revealed in the reward theory is that attraction is a form of social learning based on social costs and benefits and hence we like those who give us maximum rewards at minimum costs. Zimbardo also introduces concepts like proximity, similarity, self disclosure, and physical attractiveness as factors that determine our relationships.

The principle of proximity says that we are more likely to be friends with people that are closer to us than those that are further away. However, this may not be necessarily true since the nearer somebody is to us the higher the possibility of an argument. The other principle introduced by Zimbardo is the Similarity principle. This principle is the notion that people are attracted to those who are most similar to themselves. This concept may be observed among college students, however, this notion of similarity may not be universal since many cultures now encourage interactions between people with dissimilar beliefs. Another principle is Self disclosure. This perception dictates that good friends and lovers share intimate details about themselves. This principle is true since people are more likely to disclose their secrets to their best friend. However this is changing because of the issues of trust and betrayal. Now people choose to tell their secrets to people they meet online since they are less likely to betraythem.

The last is the notion of physical attractiveness. This idea denotes that most people are repelled by the idea that they might make judgments based only on looks. The book says that college students when asked what...