Social Exchange Theory: A Fading Friend But Not Forgotten

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A Fading Friend but Not Forgotten When I was a kid, I was a social and outgoing kind of person. In Kindergarten, I met a friend named Jeremy. He was anti-social, awkward, and an all-around goofball. He always made me laugh though and from that point on, we became best friends. I remember as a kid, going to his house and playing Super Nintendo with him, eating with his family, sharing birthdays, and watching Power Rangers. Both of our fathers have disabilities. My father was hit by a drunk driver in 1979 causing him to have neural damage for the rest of his life, and Jeremy’s dad, lost his leg from the knee down in the Vietnam War. This was just one more thing for us to bond over, we were able to confide in one another and speak about our similarities …show more content…
To evaluate my friendship with Jeremy, I have chosen the Social Exchange Theory to represent our situation. The authors of the Social Exchange Theory are Kelley and Thibaut. The premise of the Social Exchange Theory, is that we as people, “like relationships with persons who are rewarding and avoid those that are unreasonably costly; people evaluate their relationships with others in terms of the outcome” (Lee, 2016). According to Heath & Bryant (2000), “Social exchange theory features a process that is analogous to monetary exchange” (229). Basically, if one person gives someone something, they expect an equal and fair trade in return for the amount given. When I first met Jeremy, the rewards definitely outweighed the costs. He was socially awkward with a tendency to be needy but he was also funny and different, which I liked. Later in our friendship, this cost v. reward ratio shifted, it was more costly to remain in the friendship and the costs outweighed the rewards. As I stated previously, Jeremy and I were inseparable for years, …show more content…
Unfortunately, in this particular situation, I was the person who created negative communication leading to a negative relationship. My own selfishness, coupled with his misunderstanding, caused a friendship to be divided. At that point, all I was offering him was a negative relationship. According to Heath and Bryant (2000), as relational partners, “we define, negotiate, and comply with the responsibilities and limits of “paying” for what they receive from a relationship predicts the relationship’s likelihood of surviving” (p. 229). Furthermore, people negotiate the rules and requirements of each relationship using norms. Roloff, presents a series of norms in the Social Exchange Theory, and there are four that we adhere to. First, the norms of reciprocity, which dictates whether resources must be exactly the same or just similar. Norms of reciprocity “refer to how the initiation of giving resources starts. People may initiate a relationship and give resources without any expectation of return” (Heath and Bryant, 2000, p. 232). For instance, when we first became friends, I would lend Jeremy VHS tapes and he would lend some to me in return. This wasn’t expected but it signifies that we wanted the friendship to grow. Second, we have the norm of time. This is the amount of time allowed

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