While plenty of people are single by choice and legitimately love rocking life on their own, roughly half of singles wish they were in a relationship and hate being alone. While it’s true that the dating scene is notoriously hard, a new study published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences suggests that the reason these people can’t find love is that they’re simply bad at flirting. Uh oh!
Flirting is an integral part of finding a relationship. After study author Menelaos Apostolou, of the University of Nicosia (Cyprus) determined that nearly half of singles are alone involuntarily, he pointed out something that should perhaps be obvious: if you want to attract a partner, you have to be able to flirt and read a potential partner’s body language to determine whether or not they’re interested in you. You also need to put in plenty of time and effort (as long as you’re receiving it in return, of course).
Apostolou had a few theories to test out. He predicted that the reason that those who are involuntarily single find themselves in that position is that they’re not very good at reading signals or getting their flirt on. Not only that, but he imagined that most of them didn’t bother to put in enough effort and were way too picky.
Did he have a point? To test this out, he called upon 1,228 men and women with an average age of 30 to find out. About 48% of those participants were single and 47% of those people said it was because they had difficulties attracting a partner. An additional 30% of people were “between relationships” and 23% were cool with being on their own. He asked each of the participants to fill out surveys and used the data he collected to assess effort and choosiness, flirting ability, and ability to read signals of interest, Psych Daily reports.
Flirting ability is a serious struggle. The survey results showed that the biggest barrier for involuntarily single people when it comes to finding love is their flirting skills (or lack thereof). Not being able to engage in a little suggestive banter and show interest in a subtle but intriguing way was a serious problem, followed by the ability to read other people’s interest. Finally, lack of effort and choosiness came last.
Of course, these results aren’t faultless. As Apostolou pointed out, because these findings were based on self-reporting, there’s a big margin for error. Of course, some people might not want to admit that they’re bad at flirting, or they might not be very good at it simply because they haven’t done it in a while. Nevertheless, the results were pretty interesting! “We found that low scorers in flirting capacity, capacity to perceive signals of interest, and mating effort, were more likely to be involuntary single than in an intimate relationship, and more likely to experience longer spells of singlehood,” the study said.
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