Intimate relationship begin at birth. The caregiver of a child determines how that child will interact with every individual it comes across. Many life perspectives impact communal factors that allow relationships to develop and maintain or wither away.  Several theories give reason to behavior in relationships and attachment styles can be seen in parents as their children either penetrate their relationships or become apart of shallow associate circles. This paper will discuss how different perspectives impact relationship development and maintenance, attachment styles and how they impacts intimacy between friends and relationships, and how the social exchange theory, equity theory, and penetration theory describe how relationships are maintained or ended.

Diane has fallen in the middle of a busy crosswalk. In her hands were groceries, her purse, and a water bottle. As pedestrians walk past her, no one stops to help pick up the scattered apples or water bottle that has been kicked around several times. In social psychology there is now an understanding of this process that prevents witnesses to an incident from providing help be it out of courtesy or in states of emergency (Nida (2014).  Prosocial behavior is an important topic used when discovering why others do and do not help one another in time of need. The just mentioned bystander intervention concept gives light to communal and exchange relationships, which Aronson, Wilson, & Akert (2013) identify as phenomena of the physical world. The nature of relationships directly has an affect on its development and maintenance, this begins during infancy and develops interpersonal attraction. A communal relationship is focused on interpersonal factors such as mutual welfare. This can be seen in parents who are focused on their children well being. Communal relationships are focused on how each individual can help the other person and partake in fulfilling their needs, see the following example: Two individuals meet in a store and discover they have complementing home businesses. One owns a shipping company and the other a packaging company. Aside from financial benefit, the two share business contacts, refer customers to one another and host vendor events together. Their motivation and conversations are far from financial gain, they simply enjoy being friends and helping one another. Now taking the same scenario, looking at it through the lens of exchange relationships, the contrast is clear. The same two individuals meet through the same medium and uncover the same information about one another. Their discussion is a bit different because of the exchange relationship. They only trade versus share contacts, customers are referred on a commission basis, and vendor events are contingent upon profit sharing. Exchange relationships are governed, maintained, and sometimes developed surrounding equity (what can you do for me?). All discussions and dealings in exchange relationships are self seeking and leave the betterment of the other by the wayside. However, Vanneste, Bart, Phanish Puranam, & Tobias Kretschmer (2014) mention trust as a key factor between relationships and because of longevity interactions affect the trust increasing or decreasing the likelihood of a shift in the relationship type (i.e. from exchange to communal), this is also in alignment with the penetration theory.

A persons attachment style places an expectation on how they develop relationships with others, this is all derived from the relationship they experienced with their primary care giver. The power of a primary caregivers relationship with an infant can give reason to an individuals connection to others as well as potentially give reason to their relationship status (Petrowski, Schurig, Schmutzer, Brähler, & Stöbel-Richter, 2015). This is held true through the attachment theory which says the attachment style we learn as children never leaves us and it generalizes all our relationships with others. There are three attachment styles, Secure, Avoidant, and Anxious/Ambivalent. In respective order (as just mentioned) the styles can be explained as caregivers who are very responsive while showing positive emotions, those who are aloof and distant leaving infants with the desire to be close, and caregivers who are inconsistent and overbearing in their affection. What is learned in infancy is shared in relationships and friendship because from birth there is a working model for what relationships ought to look like. That schema will teach a person to not have a fear of abandonment, have a challenge with developing intimate relationship, or living life with a high level of anxiety. Levitt & Leonard (2015) suggest, in their research, that romantic couple members are motivated to drink which helps them deal with the distress of interpersonal relationships. The actions were found to directly associated with insecure attachment styles (avoidant and anxious/ambivalent). Their results found that anxious individuals are motivated to use alcohol to cope with problems they experience in their relationships.

Imagine a seesaw with even weights balancing each other up and down consistently. This is picture gives imagery to the social exchange theory, it is the balance between what is put into relationships and the reciprocation of what is received that determines how we feel based on the perception of the balance. Our perception of what costs, rewards, and contributions evolve in relationships bring about the amount of happiness we feel due to the equity of that relationship (Aronson, Wilson, & Akert, 2013). As relationships grow, according to the social penetration theory, the shallow, non intimate conversations and emotions grow deeper  to more specific and personal. A relationship will only endure with the correct balance. Just as an imbalance in avoidant and anxious/ambivalent attachment styles, the results will be harmful if the exchange is non mutual.


Prosocial behavior is an important topic used when discovering why others do and do not help one another in time of need. A persons attachment style places an expectation on how they develop relationships with others, this is all derived from the relationship they experienced with their primary care giver. Intimate relationship begin at birth. Prosocial behavior is an important topic used when discovering why others do and do not help one another in time of need. Relationship need social penetration to develop trust and long lasting interactions. This development begins and is determined during infancy.




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