The Role of Reciprocal Liking in Relationships

The Role of Reciprocal Liking in Relationships

Reciprocal Liking

It happens a lot of time when you have a friend of the other sex whom one day confesses their feelings to you. Until that moment you thought of them as just a friend like others, but the moment they confess their feelings of attraction towards you, you also start feeling attracted towards them. Knowing that they like us makes us like them back. The concept of reciprocal liking is studied under the domain of social psychology. It means that the knowledge of someone liking you is powerful enough to make them like you back. It is also important in terms to get attracted to people who find us attractive at first. Reciprocity of liking is one of the key principle of attraction. You can also notice this around you as well, people who say nice things about you are likable to you while on the other hand you tend to dislike people who dislikes you.

Also Read: Let’s sort it out: Importance of Healthy communication in relationships

What Causes Reciprocal Liking?

There can be many reasons depending on situations that causes reciprocity of liking. Some of the common reasons are:

  • When the people we are talking with likes us, during our interaction they minimize our costs of interaction and maximize the reward that we gain out of that interaction which in turn makes us feel good about ourselves.
  • There is an interdependence theory to explain reciprocity of liking which says that we tend to like people that shows gratifying responses. It validates our self and our qualities of being likable. Also, people who like us keep interacting with us and might help us during the time of needs. In respond that, we might also reciprocate the same feelings towards them.
  • There is a social exchange theory which states that people tend to reciprocate behaviors like helping or support. If someone helps you during your hard time, it is assumed that you are likely to help them in their time of needs as well. This tendency to reciprocate feelings extends to liking as well.
  • There is another theory called balance theory. It is a theory to understand interpersonal relationship, which emphasizes on our desire to

Also Read: Psychology Behind Relationships

Some other causes
  • maintain a consistency in our cognitive state. Especially those people who like their self, when someone else likes them their cognitive consistency is achieved by liking them back. Because they think highly of themselves and someone else is doing the same, which balances their thoughts by liking them as well.
  • Attachment theory also supports the concept of reciprocal liking. It suggests that when someone likes us they are willing to provide and care for us. We in turn develop feelings of likeliness for them as well.

Apart from these, there are a lot of psychological theories and sociological theories that backs and supports the causes of reciprocity of liking.

Types of Reciprocity

Generalized Reciprocity:

In this kind of reciprocity, there is no instant or immediate need of compensation. Usually, such reciprocal relationships are maintained with family, friends, relatives and even societies. In this type of reciprocal relationships, knowing that they will do good in return, still no favors or expectations are there. The satisfaction that people get into a generalized reciprocal relationship in itself is their repayment.

Balanced Reciprocity:

These types of reciprocal relationship have value calculation of what is provided by them. It is also called the law of reciprocity which means that when a good gesture is made to you, there is a psychological urge to return the favor (Pace, 2023). For example, when you give your husband a big surprise gift on his birthday, you expect something similar on your birthday by him as well. This type of reciprocity is known as balanced reciprocity in a relationship.

Also Read: Peripheral relationships and their power

Negative Reciprocity:

It can be said that negative reciprocity is something opposite of generalized reciprocity. In a negative reciprocal relationship, a person might act for their own interests and benefits and become selfish. In such cases, people try to get everything from the other party without providing or offering anything in return. It is also negative reciprocity because of its complete demanding nature without giving less or nothing in return.

Importance of Reciprocity in Relationships

Reciprocity in relationship is important for them to grow. Relationship between two people works from both sides. It is important for both of the parties to equally put efforts and show willingness to be together. To achieve that stability in the relationship, it is important for both of the partners to reciprocate their feelings towards each other.

Also Read: Importance of Trust in Relationships

Honesty, communication and developing an understanding with our partner can help us a lot to figure out if we are capable of building a good and healthy reciprocal relationship with them.

  • • Trivers, R. (1971). The evolution of reciprocal altruism. Quarterly Review of Biology, 46, 35–57.
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