Smooth Operating: A Structural Analysis of Social Behavior (SASB) Perspective on Initial Romantic Encounters

Paul W. Eastwick, Seema D. Saigal, Eli J. Finkel

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The present report used the comprehensive structural analysis of social behavior (SASB) observational coding scheme to examine which behaviors differentiate smooth from awkward initial romantic encounters. Participants on speed-dates rated as smooth (by independent observers) behaved more warmly and were more other-focused than participants on awkward dates. In addition, participants on smooth dates tended to avoid extremes on the autonomy dimension, exhibiting neither strong independence from nor strong interdependence with their speed-dating partners. Furthermore, the manner in which participants were self-focused (but not other-focused) reliably differentiated smooth from awkward dates; that is, date smoothness strongly predicted how participants reacted to their speed-dating partners (type of self-focus) but only weakly predicted how participants acted toward their speed-dating partners (type of other-focus). Finally, the authors note SASB's potential to serve as an overarching framework that explains why some interactions go well and others do not.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)344-352
Number of pages9
JournalSocial Psychological and Personality Science
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • communication
  • dating
  • interaction quality
  • interpersonal processes
  • SASB


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