General Self-Presentational Strategies Used by College Students in Establishing Romantic Relationships and Friendships


  • Liezl Rillera-Astudillo


This study sought to discover the general self-presentational strategies used by Filipino college students in their effort to establish close relationships. In particular, it focused on the main and interactional effects of gender, social position (initiator and target), and nature of close relationship on one’s preference for a particular strategy when initiating friendships or romantic relationships. Results indicate that there are nine (9) general self-presentational strategies employed by college students when initiating close relationships. The following strategies are (1) Active Pursuer, (2) Appearance Manager, (3) Supplicator, (4) Ingratiator, (5) Subtle Initiator, (6) Social Exchanger, (7) Subtle Self-Praiser, (8) Intimacy Generator, and (9) Self-Promoter. With regard to the effect of social position, initiators and targets appear to differ in their preferences for four strategies. In particular, targets find the tactics of Active Pursuers, Supplicators, Subtle Self-Praisers,  and Self-Promoters more appealing than do initiators. When it comes to the effects of gender, male initiators are more inclined to be active pursuers than female initiators. Unpredictably, male initiators  are more likely to be appearance managers than female initiators. Female targets, however, are more inclined to prefer initiators who are active pursuers and intimacy generators than do male targets. Data also show that the nature of relationship has a pervasive effect, particularly on the initiators. It appears that romantic relationship initiators tend to place greater emphasis on the use of self-presentational strategies than do initiators of friendships. In addition, findings suggest that gender and nature of relationship do not share influences on the use of selfpresentational strategies. Therefore, the results of the study undeniably show that initiators of close relationships are prone to put on different “faces” in order to win their targets. In general, the most appealing are those associated with the tactics of the Subtle Initiator and Intimacy Generator; while those that are least appealing come close to the strategies employed by Appearance Managers and Social Exchangers. One highlight of the study that is worth mentioning is the discovery that some tactics, which are regarded as generally appealing were not deemed as important by the research participants. By contrast, supplication, which is typically frowned upon by many, was viewed as favorable in the study. Thus, it is an oversimplification to say that self-presentational strategies are absolutely favorable or not. As evidenced by the results, there are other factors that may account for differences in people’s attitudes toward and preference for self-presentational strategies.