Friday, July 22, 2011

Relationships: What's in it for me?

One of my favorite tunes from the last couple of years is "What's In It For?" by Avi Buffalo. The question posed throughout the song is "What's in it for me?" The cynical part of me loves that question and thinks that's the question that people have in mind when it comes to their relationships. When I last taught my Social Psychology course, I played this song and asked students if they think that people approach their relationships with the mindset of "What's in it for me?" I was surprised by how many students said yes. Many of my students believed that people do in fact enter and exit relationships based on what's in it for them. I used this song as a way of thinking about social exchange theory, which basically looks at relationships as a series of exchanges. A relationship supposedly means there is a lot of give and take (reciprocity), but social exchange theory suggests that people are much more interested in the take component. Simply put, if a person isn't getting enough, they are dissatisfied, and they might end the relationship. I think the Avi Buffalo song is an anthem for social exchange theory. What do you think: Do people approach their relationships primarily with a mindset of "What's in it for me?"

Here's the video:

No comments:

Post a Comment