Throughout their lives, people depend on each other, and therefore relationships with others are at the center of human existence. It all starts with the mutual attraction of a specific man and woman. Humans are social beings that have an urgent need for belonging, the need to create long-term and close relationships with other people (Treger & Masciale, 2018). This paper aims at describing the attraction between two people on the example of Romeo and Juliet using the concepts of associated effects of emotion, proximity, similarity, physical beauty, repeated exposure, and familiarity.
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The relationship between a girl and a boy or a man and a woman starts with physical attraction, friendship, and the early stages of a more intimate relationship. Regardless of each person’s perceptions of who is attractive and who is not, this point is important when it comes to feelings of attraction to another person (Luo, 2017). The love between Romeo and Juliet and the physical appeal between them were naive and hopelessly reckless. Such emotions could appear only in lovers for the first time in their lives. The attraction that these characters experienced generated their interest in each other on the physical and emotional levels.
Physical beauty is important for interpersonal attraction because self-esteem increases when a man or a woman is accompanied by an attractive romantic partner. Both men and women are more likely to try to bond with someone who matches their physical attractiveness. The overall result of this process is the similarity in the degree of beauty (Treger & Masciale, 2018). Most people search for partners who are as attractive as themselves. Thus, Romeo and Juliet felt a mutual attraction since they were both young and beautiful.
The similarity is another important factor that can arise in different ways, such as resemblance in terms of age, education, economic status, hobbies, self-esteem, and others. Romeo and Juliet, despite their inability to be together due to the bad blood between their families, had many similar features. They were of the same intellectual level and economic status, and they were united by the same obstacle. The more similarities between two people, the more likely they will be attracted to each other.
One of the reasons that likeness breeds love lies in the fact that people value their opinions and preferences and are happy to be with those who validate their choices and thereby raise their self-esteem (Treger & Masciale, 2018). The main reason why similarity generates interpersonal attraction is that social norms and situational circumstances bring similar people together.
Spatial proximity is one of the simplest and most important factors that increase interpersonal attraction. Research shows that the best individual predictor of interpersonal infatuation between people is how close they live. The most common result of maintaining closeness is friendship. It was the same with Romeo and Juliet who lived close to each other. One of the main reasons proximity generates interpersonal attraction is because it increases recognition (Luo, 2017). Close acquaintance and complete openness enhance affection, admiration, and gentle feelings. Happy couples are reasonably close to each other, not only in sociological characteristics such as age, race, religion, education, and socioeconomic status but also in intelligence, as well as psychological and physical characteristics.
Reciprocity or mutual interpersonal feelings and appeal is also an important factor. Demonstrations or manifestations of attraction almost always produce more expressions of love. Romeo and Juliet had mutual feelings and openly demonstrated them, thus creating more attraction. This factor is essential because it allows getting to know the other person better. That is, people tend to be attracted to those who have the same emotions (Luo, 2017). Likewise, when one person opens up to another, feelings of attraction are usually generated as long as they are mutual.
Additional criteria for distinguishing interpersonal relationships and attraction between Romeo and Juliet, as well as other loving couples, can be considered repeated exposure and frequency of contacts. Anticipation of the future development of positive relationships increases the attractiveness of a person, of course, provided that these relationships are positive. Repeated exposure promotes growth of the positive attitudes and attraction between two people. Familiarity and intimacy plays an important role for a couple as well. The characters were familiar with each other for some time, and their close relationship during that period contributed to the growth of stronger feelings with each new meeting.
In the case of Romeo and Juliet, love grew with obstacles. In many cases, the resulting interference ultimately reinforces feelings for the other person or makes two people feel even more united, having a common enemy to fight. Romeo and Juliet acted with extraordinary firmness, courage, and at the same time caution, surrendering to their attraction. Childhood involuntarily left their actions, they suddenly transformed into wise people. This factor can arise to such an extent that couples believe in perceived external enemies against which they fight together (Summers, 2016). However, this constant search for hindrances to heighten the feeling of love can end up turning against the couple.
Contexts or situations that generate strong emotional arousal create the ideal environment for creating passionate stimuli. Thus, people who are involved in situations or states of tension are more likely to be attracted to each other. This happened to Romeo and Juliet who were not allowed to be together, which only enhanced their feelings. They had passionate love, that is, a strong emotional state in which tenderness and passion, exultation and pain, anxiety and relief, altruism and jealousy coexist in a certain mixture of feelings (Summers, 2016). That is why their attraction has led to a tragedy. Passionate love can be overwhelming for beginners, but the forces that sustain a long-term relationship are less impressive, they certainly require more effort and have more to do with equality than passion.
When two people become a couple, they illustrate several determinants of interpersonal attraction. Research in social psychology has shown that some factors affect when a person may or may not feel attracted to another. They include emotions, proximity, similarity, physical beauty, familiarity, and even common obstacles. There is no other area of human behavior in which cognition and emotion are so intricately intertwined as in interpersonal attraction. The physical appearance of a person serves as the basis for further relationships. However, for a long relationship, similarity and proximity are even more important than physical attractiveness.
Luo, S. (2017). Assortative mating and couple similarity: Patterns, mechanisms, and consequences. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 11(8), 1-14.
Summers, R. W. (Ed.). (2016). Social psychology: How other people influence our thoughts and actions. ABC-CLIO.
Treger, S., & Masciale, J. N. (2018). Domains of similarity and attraction in three types of relationships. Interpersona: An International Journal on Personal Relationships, 12(2), 254-266.