Who Likes to be Reachable? Availability Preferences, Weak Ties, and Bridging Social Capital
Cognition and Perception
Interpersonal and Small Group Communication
Personality and Social Contexts
Social and Behavioral Sciences
In this paper, we investigate how individual differences in availability preferences are related to (1) self-reported quality of interaction with strong and weak ties and (2) perceptions of bridging social capital. We employed experience sampling methods and collected data over the course of two weeks—combined with surveys at baseline and endpoint, from a random sample of college students (N = 154). We show that individuals who prefer to be more available to others report more rewarding interactions with weak ties. Furthermore, we demonstrate how the quality of weak tie interactions mediates a positive relationship between availability preferences and bridging social capital. We conclude by discussing the relationships between availability, interaction quality, and bridging social capital. We propose availability preferences as a key construct to be considered in future research.