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Single not by choice? Study says not knowing how to flirt and being choosy are why

By SAAB LARIOSA Published Mar 10, 2021 2:47 am

It’s been said that love moves in mysterious ways, but a new study published in the Personality and Individual Differences journal wants to find the burning answers.

Participated by 1,228 Greek-speaking women and men with an average age of 30, the study’s author Menelaos Apostolou of the University of Nicosia in Cyprus found that half of single people are ‘involuntarily single’ or find it difficult to pin down a partner.

The factors why people are becoming involuntarily single are largely in part of scoring low in “flirting capacity,” “mating effort,” and “choosiness”—the study’s exact terms, not ours.

Apostolou utilized self-report surveys, as respondents were asked to choose—on a scale of one to five—from a series of statements like "I do not know how to flirt," "I totally lack the ability to pick up and interpret signals of interest," "I dedicate all my energy to my romantic relationships" and "I am always very selective when choosing romantic partners."

These factors were all relatively similar in their impact, as participants' lack of flirting skills, followed by skills in perceiving signals of interest, "mating effort," then choosiness were deemed the biggest reasons for their being involuntarily single. 

That means that flirting (or the lack of it) may be an underestimated reason for those cold nights.

Photo by Ismail Hamzah via Unsplash
Voluntary singlehood

Meanwhile, being single by choice was also a factor for the study, as choosiness was the top reason why people are single by their own accord, followed closely by mating effort. 

At the end of the study, Apostolos concluded that “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.”

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.

Apostolou admits that since the results were based on self-reports, some participants may have been biased in scoring themselves. He furthered that “participants may be unwilling to admit, even to themselves, that they had poor flirting skills." Ouch.

He opens the possibility of having more qualities to measure next time, as there may be other factors to singlehood, such as being single for a long time may diminish one's flirting abilities, or lead to hopelessness and lack of mating effort in finding a significant other.