Similarity in the Communication Skills of Young Adults: Foundations of Attraction, Friendship, and Relationship Satisfaction

Brant R. Burleson, Purdue University
Wendy Samter, Bryant University

Document Type Article

Published in Communication Reports, volume 9 issue 2, 1996. Bryant users may access this article here.


The current paper reports a study assessing how similarities in levels of social-cognitive and communication skills affected friendship choices by young adults. Participants (208 college students) completed a battery of tasks providing assessments of one social-cognitive and five communication skills. Sociometric procedures were used to determine interpersonal attraction and friendship patterns. Results indicated that participants were attracted to peers having social skill levels similar to their own. In addition, pairs of friends had similar levels of communication skills related to the expression and management of emotional states. Moreover, pairs of friends having low levels of communication skills were just as satisfied with their relationships as were pairs of friends having high levels of skills. The results are viewed as consistent with a rewards of interaction; analysis of the effects of similarity on interpersonal attraction.