Entries in relationship initiation (32)

Thursday
Feb122015

Self-Esteem and Relationship Initiation: Relationship Matters Podcast 43

Just in time for Valentines Day, SAGE has released a new edition of the Relationship Matters podcast (hosted by Dr. Bjarne Holmes of Champlain College). In this installment, Dr. Danu Stinson (University of Victoria) discusses her research on why people with high vs. low self-esteem behave differently when initiating relationships.

The research team (also comprised of Jessica Cameron from the University of Manitoba and Kelley Robinson from the University of Winnipeg) conducted two experiments in which they primed individuals to focus on either (a) social rewards (i.e., the potential for feeling liked) or (b) costs (i.e., the potential for rejection). Afterwards, participants reported on their desire to initiate a relationship as well as the behaviors they’d engage in to do so. 

What did they find? When primed with the potential rewards of a new relationship, low self-esteem individuals were more interested in initiating a relationship compared to those with high self-esteem. In contrast, when the potential social costs of a new relationship were primed, high self-esteem individuals were more interested in relationship initiation compared to those with low self-esteem. 

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Saturday
Jan102015

The Agony of Public Transportation

Click here to see our articles on uncertainty in relationships.

Friday
Jan092015

Self-Esteem Affects When People Flirt

Mary is browsing through Cosmopolitan magazine reading article title after article title promising to provide useful dating advice. She then decides to create an online profile for a dating site, with the hope that online dating will help her meet someone new. What she doesn’t realize is that looking at those article titles, combined with the current state of her self-esteem (i.e., how she feels about herself) may have just influenced what she put on her dating profile.

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Monday
Oct272014

A Flirter’s Dilemma: Subtlety vs. Success

Flirting comes in many forms: a casual gaze that lingers a half second longer than necessary, a light touch, an amorous expression, an overenthusiastic laugh during conversation, or even some playful or overtly sexual banter.

Regardless of the technique employed, flirting aims to fulfill one purpose: stimulate sexual interest. To be clear, though, flirting may not have the explicit goal of having sex or even physical intimacy of any kind. A person may flirt simply to pass the time, to feel close, to see if they’ve still got it or because it’s fun. Flirting motivations differ by gender. Big surprise: men’s flirting is more motivated by sex, while women’s flirting is more motivated by having fun or becoming closer to another person.

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Monday
Jun302014

Afraid to Ask Someone Out? Read This.

Bob is interested in dating Anne and thinks that they could really click, but he is unsure whether Anne feels the same way. As a result, Bob is afraid to make a move on Anne because he doesn’t want to be rejected. So Bob plays it cool, thinking that his interest is obvious to Anne, and waits to see if Anne will ask him out. Anne, who is interested in Bob, is also worried about being rejected, and so she also plays it cool and waits to see if Bob will ask her out. They are both holding back because they each fear rejection, but because neither of them make a move, they both assume each is disinterested in the other. They also both think their worries about rejection and interest in dating are obvious. Alas, Bob and Anne never end up dating, because they both waited for the other to make the first move and when the move didn’t happen, they assumed the other was disinterested. You may have experienced versions of this scenario in your own life, or seen it played out on TV or in movies. In this post, I describe research on how the fear of rejection affects how people think and behave when trying to start a new relationship (what researchers refer to as relationship initiation).

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Friday
Jun132014

Does How Couples Meet Matter? Relationship Matters Podcast #34

In the 34th installment of SAGE’s Relationship Matters podcast, hosted by Dr. Bjarne Holmes of Champlain College, Dr. Sharon Sassler (Cornell University) discusses her recent research on how couples meet.

Sassler, and co-author Amanda Jayne Miller (University of Indianapolis) interviewed 62 cohabitating couples about how the couple members met and how much they think others support their relationships. The researchers were particularly interested in whether social class played a role in any link between how couples meet and their perceived relationship support.

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Wednesday
May072014

Flower Power: How Flowers Influence Relationship Choices

“Roses are red, violets are blue; when I’m around flowers I’m more attracted to you!” 


Whether it's red roses for Valentine’s Day or a bouquet of fresh-cut flowers as a bride walks down the aisle, flowers are inextricably linked with relationships. But can the mere presence of flowers influence actual relationship behavior? To test this question, a French researcher randomly assigned female participants to watch a video of a male discussing food while participants were either (a) sitting in a room decorated with three vases full of flowers (roses, marigolds, and daisies), or (b) sitting in a room decorated with empty vases.1 Women who sat in the room with flowers rated the male in the video as sexier and more attractive, and they were more willing to date him.

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Friday
May242013

Will Your Pick-Up Line Work? It Depends…on Her 

image source: neatorama.comIn a study of 70 undergraduates, researchers tested whether attractiveness and mating strategy (short vs. long term) influence receptivity to pick-up lines. Replicating previous research, women preferred men who took the innocuous “Do you have the time?” route, or those who used direct pick-up lines – e.g., “…I’d like to meet you. What’s your name?” Cute or flippant lines -- “Can I get a picture of you so I can show Santa what I want for Christmas?” -- continued to strike out. But women preferred attractive men for short-term relationships, regardless of the type of pick-up line he used. For long-term relationships, women preferred men who used direct or innocuous lines. Even though flippant lines made men seem outgoing and humorous, they also made them seem less trustworthy and less intelligent. Men who used direct lines were seen as the most trustworthy and intelligent.

Senko, C., & Fyffe, V. (2010). An evolutionary perspective on effective vs. ineffective pick-up lines. Journal of Social Psychology, 150(6), 648-667. doi:10.1080/00224540903365539

Friday
Apr192013

Facebook and Relationship Development: It’s Complicated (Part 1)

Whether you like it or not, Facebook has become a central part of young people’s lives: about 75% of adolescents and young adults (aged 12-24) in the United States are active users of Facebook.1 As an important part of their day-to-day social interactions, Facebook reflects and plays a critical role in the development of young people’s romantic relationships. The importance of Facebook is illustrated by a recent paper published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships,2 which employed in-depth interviews and focus groups with 55 college students to gather their thoughts about Facebook’s role in relationship development. College students are typically heavy users of Facebook; this sample of students reported spending, on average, nearly 2.5 hours actively using Facebook each day (which is similar to the frequency reported in other studies).3 

Based on these interviews, the researchers identified three themes that are relevant at different points of relationship development:

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Thursday
Jan102013

Is Knowledge Power?: Familiarity and Liking in Relationship Initiation

Some say that knowledge is power. Although knowledge in skills such as physics, literature, history, or foreign languages can help you look smart and win on Jeopardy (speaking of which, do you want to hear me talk about history in Russian?), it is less clear whether having knowledge of other people can help you “win” in social situations. In other words, can knowledge about another person lead you to like this person more? Social psychological research has evidence that familiarity may lead to either more and less liking, depending on the context.

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Monday
Jan072013

How Do I Get (More) Intimate With A Woman? 

At the stage of my life right now, I feel like I should be able to have a grasp of this, but I still don't. I am 27, male, and I've never had a serious relationship. The plain and simple reason is because I don't know how. During high school the girlfriends that I had were always more aggressive in getting what they wanted (me), so I never truly learned how to go for a woman. As I grew older, it seemed to me that the women expect the men to do most if not all of the work when it comes to intimacy. The steps from introduction to actual physical intimacy are very unclear to me; it's like figuring out the meaning of life (yes, it's that much of a mystery to me).

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Thursday
Dec062012

Could You Be Loved, and Give Love? Cultural Differences in Pursuing a Partner

Michelle Kaufman is a researcher who focuses on sexual behavior in the developing world. She globe trots regularly, conducting ethnographic work all along the way in order to inform both the quantitative and qualitative research she conducts. Recently, Michelle visited 3 countries in 1 trip and did a cross-cultural comparison.

My last international romp spanned across 2 continents and 3 countries—Indonesia, Ethiopia, and Tanzania. Since I’ve written about each of these countries individually, this time I decided to do a cross-cultural comparison in my ethnographic fieldwork. In each country, I wanted to look at how men and women show their romantic interest in a potential partner.

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Monday
Nov262012

The Art of Pickup: Misogyny in Action

Have you ever read The Game1 or seen the VH1 series The Pickup Artist? Even though The Game is no longer topping the New York Times bestsellers list and The Pickup Artist has long since left the air, the pickup community is alive and well. In fact, in my hometown of Austin, Texas, there are at least three major pickup companies and dozens of independent instructors, all willing to provide (expensive) one-on-one lessons designed to teach the unlucky-at-love how to play the game. As someone who enjoys the nightlife arguably more than she should, it was only a matter of time before I stumbled across the local pickup community and, as a result, met some of the biggest names in the seduction industry (yes, I have met Neil Strauss. No, he did not make a pass at me—and no, I’m not disappointed).

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Thursday
Aug232012

When Are Pick Up Lines Most Effective? 

Have you ever been out at a bar or at a party and had someone try a pick-up line on you? These lines can be corny (“Hey, how much does a polar bear weigh? Enough to break the ice”) or straightforward, (“Do I know you from somewhere? You look really familiar”). Researchers refer to these types of pick-up lines as “opening gambits” or “relationship initiation strategies.” (Editor’s Note: If you use either of those terms in public, you probably won’t be picking up anyone). 

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Saturday
Aug112012

The Einstein of Pick-Up Lines

For the sake of historical accuracy, we should note that this come-on was not originally posited by Einstein. Instead, it was developed based on the work of Galileo and Newton.

Friday
Mar162012

Online Dating: The Paradox of Choice

As discussed in a previous post, some relationship scientists seriously doubt the effectiveness of the algorithms used by online dating sites to match people to potential partners. Even if these algorithms do not hold the key to everlasting love, online dating sites provide access to more dating partners than you can shake a stick at. If you are looking for love, having more options is better, right?

Not exactly. Researchers have demonstrated that although we like having more options when making a decision, we are ultimately less satisfied with our choice when we have a larger, as opposed to smaller, number of options.

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Tuesday
Mar062012

Men Are More Generous in the Presence of Women

image source: chinasmack.comMen are more willing to donate money and volunteer for helpful causes that demonstrate virility (donating blood) and parental investment (helping children in need) when attractive women are around than when they are around other men or alone. Why? To pick up chicks, of course. Donating money and volunteering “signal” generosity, a valuable trait in a potential mate (for more examples of such showcasing, see here).

Van Vugt, M., & Iredale, W. (2012). Men behaving nicely: Public Goods as peacock tails. British Journal of Psychology. doi: 10.1111/j.2044-8295.2011.02093.x

Tuesday
Feb212012

"Soul Meets Body" - How Music and Relationships are Connected

As noted by my colleagues in previous articles, similarity between potential romantic partners predicts feelings of attraction and love. “Similarity” can include things like similar backgrounds (e.g., nationality), physical features, personality, hobbies, attitudes, and beliefs.

What about music preferences?

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Tuesday
Jan102012

Women: Take Control and Get a Date

Men often take a more active role than do women in initiating heterosexual relationships, and this difference may reflect a broader difference in how much control men and women feel they generally have in life. When women recall a recent past event they felt they had control over, they report increased intentions to initiate dates to a level that equals men’s typical relationship initiation intentions. Perceiving control is an equalizer when it comes to dating. 

 

MacGregor, J. C. D., & Cavallo, J. V. (2011). Breaking the rules: Personal control increases women’s direct relationship initiation. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 28, 848-867.

Sunday
Jan012012

Can a Kiss Predict the Future?

According to the superstition, the person you kissed at midnight on New Year’s Eve is the one you’ll share your love and affection with in the upcoming year. An NYE kiss allegedly brings good luck for the future of your relationship with the person on the other end of your lips…but can a kiss really predict the future?

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