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How do you love?

By Tiahna Osorio

Close relationships are a staple of the SOAR environment. Most students have people they can turn to in times of need, in the form of family, romantic, or platonic relationships. The way people behave within these closest friendships is actually determined by how your parents interacted with them in their younger years and can be summed up into four categories. This theory was originally conceived by John Bowlby in 1958. Based on a study that examined the interactions between a mother and child. The psychiatrists specifically looked at how the child interacted with strangers, how they behaved when separated from their mother, and how often they looked back at their parents for support in new situations. These situations helped them to develop three categories of attachment, they include: secure, anxious (ambivalent), and avoidant (dismissive) attachment. Another called fearful attachment was included in 1986 by Mary Main and Judith Solomon, psychologists who further fleshed out the theory of attachment.

First of all, people with secure attachments are most likely to have healthy relationships. They tend to be able to support, know their worth, and be independent but caring in relationships. They typically have parents who could meet their needs and could come to them for support.

In addition to this, anxious attachment is characterized by traits of insecurity and a negative self-image. Those with this attachment style tend to need constant reassurance and doubt the genuineness of the affection they receive. When they were young their parents were most likely sometimes cool, but other times overly affectionate.

Next, the avoidant attachment style consists of uncomfortableness with intimacy, a need for independence, and displaying “commitment issues”. They tend to distance themselves when relationships become too intimate or when issues arise. Avoidant people however don’t intentionally try to hurt people, they just have a prominent fear of rejection. Avoidant people have trouble acknowledging their feelings and tend to bury emotions. This attachment style is developed when parental figures are absent in a child’s life or they outright reject their children.

Finally, the fearful attachment style is the fear of intimacy combined with a large desire to receive it. Normally people with this attachment style would like to be intimate, but whenever they receive intimacy they are fearful and become avoidant. This attachment style is a combination of the second and third in a way. It is the result of an abusive or frightening childhood.

To conclude, these attachment styles are all ways of categorizing the way you love. However, it is important to note that there can be outliers, and different attachment styles may manifest based on the specific relationship and its importance to you. Having insecure attachment styles can be overcome, and through hard work and conscious choice, anyone can achieve happy, healthy, and secure relationships. So go out there, build your connections and grow!

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