Home > communication, television > #4 – Interacting with the Bachelor

#4 – Interacting with the Bachelor

The best show to observe interpersonal communication (two-person, face-to-face interaction) would be the reality show The Bachelor or The Bachelorette. This reality game show revolves around a bachelor (or bachelorette) surrounded by a pool or love interest. Ultimately, the show aims to pair up the single man (or lady) with one of the contestants, who successfully managed to woo him (or her) and escape being eliminated.

In order to pursue the bachelor the contestants have to go through the first contact to a richer interpersonal communication, through engagement. Take a look at the video from the latest season (season 15) of the Bachelor.

Human form relationships based on various reasons; one can become friends with another due to similarities or proximity. Similarly, relationships can be formed based on various reasons. In the video above, the contestants are trying to form a relationship with Brad Womack through highlighting exchange, and reciprocity and liking.

Exchange is when relationships are formed based on perceptions of the costs and rewards of the relationship. Here, the relational benefits play a role in forming a relationship. As seen in the video (between 44s-47s), one of the contestant is using, in this case, the disadvantage Brad would encounter by being with another contestant. The statement, “If you end up with Chantal, it will be a huge mistake,” shows that Brad would have more to gain by being with her.

Reciprocity and liking, is the tendency to form relationships with those who reciprocate our communication. This is crucial at the developmental stage where it serves as self-disclosure. In this video, this can be seen when one of the contestants confessed to Brad that she has indeed fallen in love with him (between 48s-51s). Later in the video, Brad then reciprocate the mutual feelings (between 1m12s to 1m17s).

I think these factors are crucial to the formation of relationship especially on this show. Given the nature of the show where 10 girls fight it out to win Brad’s heart, it is only understandable that one would go to extreme ways to form relationships such as exchange. However, the game would eventually change when several girls are eliminated leaving a smaller group of 3 or 4 girls in the competition. At this stage, relationship maintenance would then play a bigger role for Brad to see if the candidates of girls he narrowed down are suitable for him. Factors such as self-disclosure (sharing of information about self that other person in unlikely to know), conflict and relational needs help Brad decide his ‘ideal’ girl.

As much as I detest the Bachelor, somehow I could not stop myself from following this show occasionally. So which stage do you think requires more effort, forming a relationship or maintaining one?

  1. wensssy
    February 28, 2011 at 3:54 pm

    I think the show is rather interesting to show how the girls fight for the affection of one guy.
    I remember there was this series where the guy wasn’t the rich guy like how the show portrayed him to be. but was some farmer boy :S I forgot how the ending went though. If the girl didn’t stay with him, it totally showed which part of him she liked.
    I think forming a relationship is tough, but maintaining is even tougher. At the end of the day, nothing stays constant. To maintain a relationship, or friendship, or family ties, requires the effort of all the parties involved.

  2. March 13, 2011 at 12:53 pm

    Hey! This is really an awesome way of depicting the relational formation process! 😀

    Well, I feel that when you start forming a relationship with someone, there is engagement where you want to know more about the other party. As your feelings increase, it is a human instinct for us to try to probe around, wanting to know everything about the other party.

    For maintaining a relationship however, you need patience to go through self disclosure, relational needs and so for together. This part is when both parties’ feelings reach a melting point – no more mutual feelings. Thus, this lacks of the basic trust and emotion to discuss what exactly gone wrong in the relationship.

    So, I believe that forming a relationship does not seem as tough as maintaining one.

  3. shaz
    March 27, 2011 at 7:53 am

    Maintaining a relationship without a doubt is tougher than forming a relationship.

    Forming a relationship is tough to start of with. You have to know whether the other party is really the one for you and vice versa but maintaining a relationship is tougher as now it involves trust, patience and a whole lot of other points.

  4. Jeannette
    March 28, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    Honestly, I do not really like this show. To be willing to put yourself in the spotlight to try to find ‘the love of your life’, is plain ridiculous, the money at the end of the hypothetical rainbow (full of fighting, backstabbing and filled with women clamouring over one men trying to win his heart/money). To me, it kind of makes fun of the concept of love. (Who would, in their right mind, willingly rush to find a woman [who might love your money and fame more than you] within such a short timeline and expect it to work?)

    Ranting aside, I feel that relationship maintenance is a lot harder than formation. Formation is based on things like similarities (or dis-similarities for that matter), physical appearance, etc. Maintenance requires more work, more time, in order to progress.

  5. milollita
    April 3, 2011 at 8:28 am

    I don’t agree with the messages that this show sends to its viewers. All these girls are “high-maintenance” and the bachelor is often the dream guy: handsome, rich, fun…so what is it really that these women are after?

    I agree with most of the comments that say maintaining a relationship is harder than forming one. In a documentary I once watched when two people fall in love, their brain releases these hormones that have similar effects to drugs and alcohol: it can dull ones judgment and make them blind to the other person’s mistakes. However, these feel-good hormones last three months and if the couple has not established a common ground in their relationship, eventually their relationship heads towards a dead-end. How is it that some people can stayed married to one partner their whole life, while others can never settle for one person? Of course, there are many other factors involved but it is maintaining that relationship that proves to be difficult. Factors such as trust and communication are essential in maintaining a relationship and these things are easier said than done.

  6. April 4, 2011 at 11:51 am

    Oh my golly I love this show, Faz! 🙂

    Anyway, to answer your question, I would definitely go with maintaining a relationship.

    As evident as it is in our social circle, we can actually see that relationships are formed in short periods of time; the shortest being one day. (no joke?!) If we think in terms of that, how hard can it be for youngsters to form a relationship with one another, especially if they only see it as an exchange and nothing more than that? Of course, we all know that there are always exceptions.

    On the other hand, maintaining a relationship requires time, effort, commitment, trust, and many more!

  7. April 4, 2011 at 12:08 pm

    I stopped watching this show after its first season because I find it so ridiculous. Haha. I mean, what are the odds that the bachelor/bachelorette will stay with the “chosen” one long after the show has ended?

    To answer your question, both stages obviously require a lot of effort but maintaining a relationship is probably tougher. Forming a relationship might not be as hard because of the various methods we can use to get to know a person (Facebook!) but maintaining the relationship requires a lot more effort. So many factors need to be taken into consideration such as trust, commitment, loyalty, etc.So yup, maintaining a relationship is definitely harder!

  8. April 4, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    i honestly think that this show is just ridiculous, and what people pass for entertainment today is just sad!

  9. April 4, 2011 at 3:06 pm

    and yes I do agree that maintaining a relationship is definitely harder than forming one. And will these bachelors and bachelorettes have a happily ever after ending after the show end? I doubt it.

  10. TheycallmeKenneth
    April 6, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    Haha I remember watching this show when it was first released in Singapore, but then it went all downhill from there. I’d have to say maintaining a relationship takes more work than starting one, as people begins to see the true light and bad sides of one another and stands as a test. More so if we’re referring to this show, as it seems to me that even the dialogues are sometimes scripted out and all. It’s no surprise most couples after the show ended breaking up.

  11. April 7, 2011 at 2:05 pm

    oh god, THE BACHELOR, really….???? and since you dislike it, why do you still follow it? aw, love-hate relationship much? moving on…

    the first thing that came to my mind about this show is definitely reciprocity and liking – i mean, do the girls even really like the bachelor? it could be for the airtime fame, money(if truly any) or whatsoever reason true love is unable to show on tv – again, if any. between forming a r/s and maintaining one, i think the answer here is pretty unanimous – the latter. forming a r/s can be so easy and in fact, often hasty. i’m sure we’ve all had past teenage mistakes… no need to go there now yes? but i believe from the beginning to the end, self-disclosure is always crucial to used at the right time.

  12. Shawn
    April 10, 2011 at 2:43 am

    The Bachelor is a nice show, but I prefer The Bachelorette, for obvious reasons. 😛 To me, it takes 3 days to start a relationship, but at least 3 years, or even a lifetime to sustain one. I feel that too many people are engrossed with finding Mr. or Mrs. Right, but when they do, they forget that maintainance is just as important.

  13. April 17, 2011 at 5:47 am

    I remember watching a few episodes of The Bachelor. I found it quite difficult to follow after that because I think it’s quite sad that there are so many girls who will do anything for that one rose. From the clip, I think it just proves that not watching the show is a good decision. It used to be a simple competition where you get chosen based on whether or not he likes you. It has now degraded to malicious and manipulative catfights to win. Not the guy, but the competition itself. It used to be so sweet and simplistic. But it has just evolved into a bitter ugly monster of a show.

    I believe that both forming and maintaining the relationship requires crazy effort. However, I believe that maintaining the relationship requires more effort. Forming the relationship is difficult because there’s all this trust issues to sort out but overall, there are so many things you can learn from that person. But after a long while, you’ll know almost everything about him or her and there is little things you can do to “spice” up the relationship or even making it less dull. However, I must admit. For couples who are able to stick with each other for decades and decades, I have mad respect for them. Therefore, for shows like “The Bachelor”, I can only say that the cynic in me is waiting for the relationships to crumble months after the show.

  14. April 17, 2011 at 7:53 am

    Interesting question. I would say it depends. Every couple has their own way of developing a relationship and I believe that more often than not, it is the couple themselves who ought to decide how the relationship should flow. This is something I feel that people outside of this relationship would not really understand (even if some may say that an outsider would see the situation better than the ones who are in the relationship itself).

    However, I believe that as long as both parties feel that its worth the effort, even if the world is against their relationship (yes I’m using a hyperbole here), they can choose to go against all odds and begin/continue their relationship. The decision is theirs.


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