Interpersonal Conflicts vs. Attraction

Social conflict happens when parties oppose each other in social interaction and when each uses social power with reciprocity to reach incompatible goals, and in doing so, prevents the other from reaching their own. On the other hand, when we love or like someone, we are experiencing interpersonal attraction – it can occur between friends, family, other people in general and, of course, romantic partners. 

Levels of conflicts

Interpersonal conflicts occur between two or more persons (social conflict, the micro-social level); two or more groups (a structural conflict, meso-social level); and organization (cultural conflict, the macro-social level). In the home or school environment, conflicts happen at the micro and meso-social level. Conflicts tend to be wider in the direction of the participant and slowly gain additional seriousness. In a conflict between two people or groups, opposed sides seek allies who will support their position. If more people are involved in the conflict, it is more difficult to find a constructive solution. 

Hot conflict

There are hot and cold conflicts. Sides in hot conflicts are characterized by fierce mood changes and outward expression of strong emotions by shouting, using harmful language and similar. They are inspired by ideals and believe that their reason is much better than the one of the other side/s. If the other party is trying to realize its ideals, conflict is inevitable. In hot conflicts, confrontation of the parties is common, and clarification of mutual relations is relatively quick. 

Cold conflict

In cold conflicts, warring parties will meet with deep disappointment and frustrations. Parties involved in the conflict suppress their emotions by not speaking or using a passive aggressive tone, muttering, etc. This form of conflict is less obvious but equally destructive in its effect, if not even more than a hot conflict. This type of conflict contributes to the reduction of self-esteem significantly more than in hot conflicts.

When it comes to interpersonal attraction, studies have shown that all factors involved require social reinforcement. The most frequently included factors are physical attractiveness, similarity, complementarity and the frequency of interaction.

Physical attraction

Physical attraction stems from the fact that people prefer individuals who look good. There are certain stereotypes that relate to attractiveness. Attractive people are attributed with positive traits such as confidence and warmth, they are more social and popular. According to Snyder, Thin and Berscheid, even telephone conversations vary depending on whether the conversation is lead with an attractive person or with a less attractive person. 

Appearance vs. status 

Researchers have dealt with the question of what kind of individuals pay much attention to physical appearance and which traits they consider. Studies have shown that men pay more attention to the physical appearance of the partner than women. Psychologists explain this claim by saying that attractive physical appearance indicates youth, health and the ability for further reproduction when it comes to women. Women find status more important than the beauty of the chosen partner. Physical characteristics which could be interpreted as an indicator of the status are height and athletic physical structure.


Researches show that people like individuals who are similar to them. According to Hays friends are similarly based on age, marital status, and intelligence. Friends often have a similar attitude and behavior in certain situations. If a person is positive in certain situations, it is very likely that positive feelings transfer to the surroundings. Similarity among people improves interaction, while the interaction with people who are different from us is avoided. 


Physical attractiveness and similarity are in high correlation with the degree of attractiveness. Besides attractiveness and similarity, proximity is another important factor. Researches show that the more frequent we see or communicate with a particular person, it is more likely that we’re going to make friends with her or get closer.

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