Social Attraction and Orientation

Social Attraction and Orientation

Orientation: Social Attraction

Social Attraction is a form of emotional attraction where one may desire a social relationship with a particular individual. Social attraction is a vague concept, as it can encompass attraction to any interactions considered social, including the desire to merely talk to an individual, or the desire to marry an individual. Social attraction is thus often described under varying definitions, including:

  • "A desire to be closer to and/or more like someone because of their perceived talent and/or wisdom",[1]
  • "...relating to monosocial interaction between people...", "...with nonromantic / nonsexual nature, such as friendship, mentorship, or others",[2]
  • A desire for social interactions that is not dependent on one's desire for friendship,[3]
  • "...being attracted to a person for zer social status, wealth, fame, etc",[4]
  • "as it comes to the need of social relationships within the public life sphere",[5]

Piotr Sztompka defines social behaviors or social actions as simply the addressing of other individuals, soliciting a response from the other, often then reciprocating.[6] The word 'social' is also described as "marked by or passed in pleasant companionship with friends or associates" or "tending to form cooperative and interdependent relationships with others".[7]

The variables in common between the varying definitions of social attraction is that it is seeking of some kind of gain from another, neither emotionally deep in one's connections, nor describing a desire for touch.

Social attraction is at times considered synonymous with interpersonal attraction. The International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences describes it as:

"...traditionally defined in social psychology as a positive attitude or evaluation regarding a particular person, including the three components conventionally ascribed to attitudes: behavioral (tendency to approach the person), cognitive (positive beliefs about the person), and affective (positive feelings for the person)." A. Aron, G. Lewandowski (2001)[8]

One's pattern of social attraction towards certain genders typically (but not always) forms that individual's social orientation. Social orientations are often identified by the usage of the '-social' suffix, such as heterosocial, or bisocial.

An individual who regularly experiences social attraction would be allosocial. Someone who does not regularly experience platonic attraction may be asocial or otherwise aso-spec.

A social desire for another individual may be called a rush.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 momma-mogai-sphinx. "Attraction Terminology". Tumblr, 23 Feb, 2019,
  2. beyond-mogai-pride-flags. "Homosocial Pride Flag". Tumblr, 28 Jun, 2018,
  3. system-lgbt. "Friendship is empiricist, it means friendships are social constructions.". Tumblr, 17 Oct, 2018, Archived on 27 Jan, 2022.
  4. Sojourner. "A New Model of Attraction". The AVEN, 7 Nov, 2010,
  5. neutrois-maverique-blog. "The 12-13 forms of attraction". Tumblr, 16 Mar, 2018,
  6. Sztompka, Piotr. 2002. Socjologia, Znak. ISBN 83-240-0218-9. p. 107.
  7. “Social.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 31 Jul. 2023.
  8. A. Aron, G. Lewandowski (2001). "International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences". 7860-7862.