You might be single because you’re not good at flirting, new study suggests

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About 31 percent of all American adults are single. For many, it’s purely by choice, preferring the single lifestyle, while others just haven’t found “the right one” yet to try everything from bars to online dating.

However, there are a large number of people who, despite the desperate desire for a partner, do not seem to find one – the so-called “involuntary singles”. These people may not know what they’re doing wrong, but a new study just might.

According to a new study published in the journal Personality and individual differences by Menelaos Apostolou of the University of Nicosia, scientists may have found the main reasons why all of these unintentional singletons don’t find a match, and – spoiler alert – it’s not everyone’s fault.

The study involved 1,228 Greek-speaking women and men over the age of 18 with different relationship statuses, asking each to complete a series of online surveys to test predictors of celibacy. These ranged from their ability to flirt, their ability to pick up signals of interest, and the effort they put into dating. Once all the data was collected, it was analyzed to determine correlations between relationship status – including whether they “choose to be single” or “have difficulty attracting a partner” – and the variables studied. .

The results showed that the most important deciding factor was the inability to flirt – even a one-unit drop in flirting scores correlated with a 50% increase in the odds of being single. Flirting is a huge factor in both traditional dating and new online dating, and obviously it has kept many people from achieving their relationship goals.

In second place, participants perceived a partner’s interest well, many struggling with the “do they like me or dislike” aspect of dating. Anyone who has dating experience knows that this is one of the hardest parts, some of us being completely unable to figure it out no matter how obvious it is.

There were also correlations in the other variables – less dating effort correlated with being more single, as well as being more “demanding.”

Looking at how long each participant was single, the researchers also found that a one-unit increase in flirtatious ability resulted in a 1.2-year reduction in the length of their single spells.

As with all survey-based studies, results can be biased and influenced by participants’ self-confidence. Likewise, people in a relationship may be more likely to praise their flirting skills because they have clearly been successful.

Either way, the evidence suggests that if you’re struggling to find a partner, your best bet may be to brush up on those flirting skills. Attractiveness is not a gift bestowed on all of us, but the means described in this study are our best tools for finding “the right one” – there is someone for everyone, after all.


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