Who you are matters to how I ‘show’ myself: The differential self-presentation to friends and intimate partners
Self-presentation is a communication behavior by which we convey to others who we are (Arkin, 1981). In the context of existing relationships, it can be construed as a relationship maintenance behavior (Baumeister, 1982; Schlenker, 2003), however only little research has examined self-presentation in existing relationships. The current study examined whether type of relationship influences the extent to which a person engages in self-presentation. Two hundred and thirty participants were randomly assigned to romantic partner or friend condition and completed self-report measures. Results revealed small differences in self-presentation to romantic partners versus friends. For intrapersonal factors, an insecure attachment orientation and awareness of authenticity predicted reports of self-presentation, whereas for interpersonal factors, only predictability of partner was related to self-presentation. Furthermore, friendship-contingent self-esteem significantly moderated self-presentation to friends. These results have importance for understanding impression management and subsequent interpersonal behavior within different relationships.