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Affiliation Needs

Updated on December 16, 2017
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Devika enjoys sharing her work with a friendly community. Writing is a big part of her life. Online work has improved her lifestyle.

Personality Differences


What changes People?

Have you ever wondered why your need to be around other people, often changes due to your daily experiences?

Have you ever questioned, why you’re overall need to socialize, is different from the expressed need, of some of your friends, and acquaintances?

Yes, you must have wondered at some point.

The Two Reasons for Affiliation are Comparison and Exchange.

The two factors that shape your affiliation desires involves the desire to gain knowledge about yourself to the world social comparison.

The desire to secure psychological and material rewards through social change.

The two reasons for seeking out others relate to your dependence on others for information.

(Information dependence) and your dependence on others for positive outcomes (outcome dependence).

· Social Comparison.

People have accurate views, both about the world and about yourself.

One way to know yourself and to better understand your place in the social environment is to know yourselves with others.

  • Evaluate yourself!

· How social comparison is used?

Three people who were previously enrolled in a course for next semester, a top student in every course.

The second student who usually receives similar grades as you. The third student is always on academic on probation.

· Who would you seek out for information about the course?

· Would you seek out students similar to you?

The third student is your choice because of the similarity to you.

The student's opinions, observations, and her actual final grade will be much more useful in predicting own performances, than information learned from the top student, and the second student.

· Social Exchange

Individuals have desires to evaluate themselves through social comparison is one reason for affiliation.

A second explaining affiliation focuses more closely on the interactions between people.

Here people seek out and maintain those relationships in which rewards exceed costs, and they avoid or terminate relationships when costs are greater than rewards.

People are basically hedonists, they seek to maximize pleasure, and minimize pain, and to do so at minimum cost.

Also, people can be attracted to those who are best able to reward them.

Social relationships are like economic bargains in which each party has a value based on the goods they have to exchange.

The goods exchanged could be either material for example, money, flowers and food.

· The non-material as in the example, social influence, information, affection.

Husbands can do stuff around the house in return for their wives doing the laundry.

When people decide whether to remain in a certain relationship, they will not consider the rewards and costs in solution.

Instead, the level of costs and rewards accruing in the current relationship will be composed with the possible rewards and costs available in alternative relationships.

If there is no alternative relationships available, or none appear appreciably more rewarding than the current relationship.

The person will make no changes.

The reasons for some people who remain in dissatisfying or even harmful relationships, they would rather receive some rewards than run the risk of receiving none at all.

Many Factors Influence Individuals Affiliation Desires

· Why do people differ in their general need for Affiliation?

People are social creatures and feel the need to belong; it is powerful, fundamental and extremely pervasive motivation.

At least about seventy five percent of the time adolescents spend their waking time with other people.

When with others teenagers tend to be much be happier, more alert, and more excited than when they are alone.

Social interaction, however, is not just important to this age group.

The tendency to make friends and to seek out others is to form enduring close relationships an inherited trait that has helped people to survive and reproduce.

· Personality Differences.

People differ in their motivation to seek social contact, those who have a high need for affiliation tend to be very active in pursuing social contacts.

Also, high premiums on positive outcomes in such pursuits are placed.

In contrast, these with a low need for affiliation are less likely to respond negatively when their social interactions become less rewarding.

The high need for affiliation for individuals are indeed ''people persons'' they don't like being alone, and when interacting, they seek approval and avoid conflict.

Their desire for affiliation is also associated with being less competitive, and less likely to talk negatively about others.

The differences in reusability which is to a degree of which stimulation produces arousal of the central nervous system.

People who desire a great deal of social contact have a higher optimal arousal level for both social and nonsocial stimuli than those who desire less contact.

In other words, it takes greater amounts of stimulation either of the social or nonsocial variety to arouse the central nervous system of people with a high need for affiliation.

Their desire to reach this relatively high optimal level of arousal impels them to not only seek out others for social stimulation but to also seek out other intense sources of excitement.

Each individual is born with a nervous system that causes one to have varying of degrees of tolerance for the stimulation resulting from social interaction.

It is this biological difference that shapes ones affiliation desires.

· Individualism Versus Collectivism.

Affiliation needs also appear to be shaped by cultural variables.

In individualist cultures, people are generally expected to individually develop their own relationships, and to do so in many varied social settings.

They develop social ties with people in various social groups, their relationships can be numerous, but they are not particularly intimate.

The affiliation, yet non-intimate, approach to social relationships typifies one's own culture. Most individuals like in the American cultures have many relationships that are marked by friendliness and informality, but few develop into deep and lasting friendships.

Most cultures restrict friendships to an area of common interest.

Other cultures like the Russian culture expect to form deep bonds with their friends and to have these intimate friendships extend over many years.

· Cross-cultural Affiliation

People in individualist cultures often have greater skills in entering and leaving new social groups. They make ''friends'' easily, but by ''friends'' they mean non intimate acquaintances. People in collectivist cultures have fewer skills in making new ''friends'' but ''friends'' in their case implies a life-long intimate relationship with many obligations.

The quality of the friendships is different.

This difference in quality can complicate the understanding of individuals of the construct of collectivism.

Since people in individualistic cultures are likely to appear more sociable, while intimacy is not a readily observable attribute.

Individual differences can foster social contact or withdrawal, but a number of stimulation factors also can trigger affiliation needs and interpersonal attraction.

· Three of the more important situation factors.


One of the most powerful factors in determining whether you become friends with other people is their sheer proximity to you.

· Is this one of the reasons why you were initially attracted to your best friend?

Chances are, most of your friends live in close proximity to you, or at least did so in the past.

Proximity can affect intimate relationships. Couples are more likely to marry someone from close by.

Although proximity does lead to liking but not always can you develop a friendship with a lion. There are bad and good relationships, or the not so good relationship.

· Familiar

An effect that happens in an absence of some information about the person, or a thing which is the object of the attention.

It is strongest when somewhat positive feelings toward positive feelings toward the person or thing already exist.

People like familiar tastes and other people known to them. Unfamiliar objects or tastes are not liked by many individuals they want to be safe and healthy so don't want to try what they don't know about or haven't come across in their lives.

Individuals differ in their habitual desire for affiliation; external events can also motivate people to seek others.

Think about some event in your life that created a great deal of anxiety, such as death, or a serious illness of a loved one, some local or international crisis, or even an important college exam.

During such times of stress, one often seeks out the company of others.

· Why is the case?

· Does misery love company?

In the time of stressful moments people who are experiencing the same events stick together. Misery definitely seeks out Love Company.

Those who are in danger make dangerous friends, the behavior of an individual is shown in situations and once information is gathered on the reasons for the anxiety they feel safer.

Affiliation needs

Why do you mingle with others?

See results

© 2013 Devika Primić


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    • CraftytotheCore profile image

      CraftytotheCore 4 years ago

      Very interesting article DDE! I met some really dear friends years ago when my children were small. We haven't gotten together lately, or even spoke on the phone in years. But I bet if I pick up the phone and call them, we'd be talking again like it was yesterday.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      kidscrafts thanks for making the time to read and comment on my hubs I really appreciate all comments from all my supporters. Have a good day.

    • kidscrafts profile image

      kidscrafts 4 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

      Interesting article, DDE. I have friends from High School in Europe and when we meet, it's like we met yesterday and we can continue the conversation as if we didn't stop. Very special. I have good friends in Canada too but they live closer... it's nice!

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Hi MsDora so nice of you to come by thanks

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 4 years ago from The Caribbean

      DDE, interesting points about companionship filling our needs for comparison and exchange. Both are very meaningful to me. Thank you for your insights.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Mhatter99 thanks for commenting

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Jackie Lynnley thanks for commenting have nice day

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 4 years ago from San Francisco

      Thank you for this interesting information

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 4 years ago from The Beautiful South

      You make some very interesting points, food for thought! ^

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Faith Reaper so glad you read my hub thanks very much take care now

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 4 years ago from southern USA

      Hi DDE,

      Interesting hub here. Our best friends are some who are now living a long distance away from us, but the friendships were formed when we were very young. Now, they live all over the US and not near us. So, of course, they are still our friends, but proximity does make a huge difference as you state here.

      Voted up ++ and sharing

      Blessings, Faith Reaper