Applying the ideal standards model to unmet expectations and satisfaction in friendship

Jeffrey A. Hall


The present study applies the ideal standards model (ISM) to explore the role of ideal friendship standards on friendship satisfaction in a specific same-sex friendship and responses to unmet expectations in friendships in general. Participants (N = 284) completed an online survey wherein they reported their expectations on six dimensions of friendship, their friendship satisfaction for a close same-sex friendship, and their response to unmet standards in friendship. The influence of participants’ self-evaluations and ideal standards on friendship satisfaction was mediated by the discrepancy between participants’ close friend and participants’ ideal standards. The flexibility of standards failed to explain variance in satisfaction and higher ideal standards were negatively associated with satisfaction. However, the flexibility of standards was negatively associated with direct communication, avoidance, and revenge in response to unmet expectations in friendships, and positively related to loyalty and acceptance. The present investigation clarifies how friendship ideals influence the evaluation of friendship and responses to unmet expectations.


Expectations; Friendship; Ideal standards model; Satisfaction


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Studies in Communication Sciences | ISSN: 1424-4896