Self-Presentation as a Function of Closeness and Perceived Partner Characteristics



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In everyday interactions, people engage in identity negotiations with the goal of establishing a mutually agreed upon identity for each interactant. Self-presentation is the mode by which people engage in these negotiations. Identity negotiations occur in response to the perception that there is a mismatch between the interaction partner’s perceptions and the self’s desired identity; yet, no research has examined what may influence such evaluations by the self. Additionally, previous research has found relationship factors to be of importance in predicting self-presentation. In the current set of studies, I examined closeness, and perceptions of positive and negative partner characteristics as predictors of self-presentation (Study 1) and of satisfaction with the interaction and the relationship (Study 2). Results indicated that closeness is a strong predictor of self-presentation, as are perceptions of positive and negative characteristics. These variables, however, interact to predict self-presentation, such that when more self-presentation was reported the fewer positive or negative characteristics they perceived in interaction partners with whom they felt close.. Such perceptions of positive and negative characteristics were also associated with satisfaction with the interaction and with the relationship; self-presentation was, however, not a unique predictor of the satisfaction variables. These findings suggest that increased self-presentation may occur in response to both positive and negative situational factors, and that self-presentation may not lead directly to negative interpersonal outcomes, but may do so because of other factors in the situation.



Self-presentation, Interpersonal relationships, Closeness, Positive perceptions, Negative perceptions, Partner characteristics