The Social Psychology of Personal Relationships

By William Ickes; Steve Duck | Go to book overview

Chapter 8
Methods of Studying Close Relationships*

William Ickes

University of Texas, Arlington, TX, USA

Something unusual is happening here. For as long as you have known them, your best female friend Janice and your best male friend Don have simply not gotten along. As much as you like them as individuals, and as often as you have tried to bring them together, they have always seemed to get on each other's nerves. You can feel the tension between them whenever they are in the same room, and you have often wondered why it is that two people whom you like so much don't seem to like each other.

But what's really got you wondering lately is this: Why, three days after Janice broke off her engagement to her fiance, Bobby, did you see Don's car parked in front of her apartment as you drove by on your way to work? And why, after calling Janice last night and discovering that her line was busy, did it happen that when you tried to call Don, you discovered that his line was busy too? Could it be that Janice and Don are not as uncomfortable around each other as you thought? Could it be that the tension you have felt between them in the past was not the “push” of magnetic poles that repel each other but the “pull” of magnetic poles that attract?

Naturally, as nosy as you are, you won't be able to rest until you find out for sure, one way or the other …

* Reproduced by permission of Allyn & Bacon, Boston, USA.

-157-

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