An Interpersonal Approach to Social Preference: Examining Patterns and Influences of Liking and Being Bothered by Interpersonal Behaviors of Others
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Interpersonal researchers have primarily assessed interpersonal behaviors using self-ratings of one’s own behaviors and third-person ratings of dyadic interactions. Only a limited number of researches have studied how individuals perceive others’ interpersonal behaviors in social situations. Using a sample of 470 undergraduate students, we examined patterns of liking and being bothered by others’ interpersonal behaviors as well as influences of these patterns on individuals’ psychological functioning. Our findings showed that people tend to like interpersonal behaviors that are the most similar to their own and get bothered by behaviors that are the least similar to their own. Such pattern is more characteristic on the warmth dimension than the dominance dimension and is consistent across different levels of intimacy between the evaluator and the subject being evaluated. We also found small but significant effects of interpersonal preference on social support, interpersonal problems, negative affect, and detachment, above and beyond effects of individuals’ own interpersonal traits. Findings suggest that perception of others’ interpersonal behaviors relates specifically to one’s own interpersonal traits, and these patterns of interpersonal perception have unique associations with one’s own affective and interpersonal experiences. Such findings highlight the importance of including perception of other’s in investigating interpersonal dynamics.