chapter  17
37 Pages

Self-Presentation and Subjective Well-Being

WithJames M. Tyler, Katherine E. Adams, Peter Kearns

The evolution of a gauge to assess relational value as advanced by sociometer theory suggests the corresponding development of a process to guide the expression of one’s public self, typically referred to as self-presentation. A key function of self-presentation is to enhance one’s relational value in the eyes of others, which increases the likelihood that one will be included in desired groups and relationships (i.e., belongingness). Although a positive association between belongingness and subjective well-being (SWB) is well documented, the relationship between SWB and self-presentation remains unclear. In the current chapter, we outline factors (i.e., extraversion, self-monitoring, and self-disclosure) that include behaviors that resemble effective self-presentations in that some qualities associated with these factors involve characteristics that likely enhance social connections. Although self-presentation skills are not the only reason people higher on these factors become happier, we argue that being a more effective manager of one’s public self is an important pathway to greater SWB, primarily because it greases the wheels of social connections.