Social Exchange Theory

Social Exchange Theory argues that tangible or intangible benefits compel us to make choices.In “Friends” video clip, Joey asserts that all actions that attract tangible or intangible feeling of satisfaction is selfish, hence cannot be selfless. Phoebe, on the other hand, is convinced that she can prove Joey wrong by finding some selfless actions. She tells Joey that she was stung by a bee and she was disappointed, but the bee might have felt good after hurting her. Joey tells her that the bee might have died after stinging her; hence her act is not selfless. I agree with Joey that human actions are compelled by selfish interests that suppress the nature of selfless good deeds.

I agree with Joey because attitudes, expectations, and choices motivate our decisions. Anything that involves a choice has an intangible benefit. Consider an example of donating to charity. While the action may be selfless because it seeks to help people that one has not met, the person may be disappointed when he learns that the organization is using the funds to support political activities in a given community. Anything that is likely to hurt our feelings is selfish, even when it is meant to benefit others. Furthermore, people tend to pursue happiness at the expense of pain. All choices have consequences, even if the outcomes may be insignificant. In the video clip, Phoebe fails to dispute the social exchange theory. At the end of the video, she fails to dispute the social exchange theory because she celebrates that she made Joey appear on a television show.

Intangible benefits compel people to perform selfless good deeds.The social exchange theory argues that all actions that make us happy or sad are not selfless deeds. Our efforts are tied to emotions and attitudes.We can only perform selfless deeds if the deeds are independent of actors. Since it is impossible for deeds to exist independent of actors, Joey is right to argue that selfless acts do not exist. The social exchange theory is, therefore, valid.

Bros, Warner. (1998). Friends: Social exchange theory.The Critical Commons.Retrieved from

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