Posts Tagged ‘reality tv’

#4 – Interacting with the Bachelor

February 27, 2011 14 comments

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?