Study Says Singles With A Good Social Network Feel Less Lonely Without A Partner
Do you have a friend who forgets you and other people in her life each time she is in a relationship? Well, I do understand that it’s important to prioritise your partner. When my best friend got married, I took a step back because I know her priorities will change. Of course, our friendship is still going strong and we are now like siblings! We held on to our friendship tight through all our relationships but many people become distant and I believe that is the biggest mistake they make. Love is great but we need our network of people, especially when we are single. They keep us sane and happy when the going gets tough. They help us maintain our individuality in a relationship.
Thankfully, I have retained my circle of close friends and we’ve come closer over the years. Just last night, I was telling my girlfriends that if we lived closer and were more proactive in connecting, I wouldn’t even feel the need to date. Why is it so easy with friends? We can just be chilling and even when there is slight turbulence, things just bounce back. There are no mind games, no fragile egos, and no communication issues.
According to a study, single people who have satisfying social connections do not feel an urgent need for a romantic relationship. “The population of singles is on the rise and very few seem to care. In the U.S. alone, Pew notes that the share of married adults age 18 and older has declined from 72% in 1960 to 50% in 2016. Of course, many talk about this shift per se, but very few discuss the characteristics of this growing population,” said researcher Elyakim Kislev of the School of Public Policy at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
He further added, “I believe that it is important to study how relationship desire appears in singles’ lives, how their lives look like. Being single myself, I know that there are new communities of singles, new ways of life, and new patterns of behavior that we must acknowledge and research. In this particular research, I focused on the group of singles who are not seeking relationships. I estimate this group to be around 20% of the total population of singles.”
Kislev studied data from 12,000 individuals for his research wherein the participants were asked how much they want to have a partner. Their satisfaction with their friends was also examined. “My findings show that people that desire relationships at higher levels tend to assign their friends lower importance and are less satisfied with their social lives. And vice versa, singles with less relationship desire think their friends are more important and are also more satisfied with their social lives,” Kislev told PsyPost.
I think it all comes down to learning to be independent and just go with the flow. It’s very important to be comfortable single, being partnered doesn’t solve your problems! I assume these are the people who understand the importance of not spending your life waiting for a partner. They are out and about, building a support bubble of their friends and family, cultivating stronger bonds with people who will remain, and working on themselves.
In fact, in Kislev’s book, “Happy Singlehood: The Rising Acceptance and Celebration of Solo Living“, he says that people who have been single for a long time have a larger network of friends than their married friends. Thankfully, that helps us not feel lonely and bored.
“I would be happy to know more about the social net of singles. It might well be that singles with low relationship desire transfer some of the assumed responsibilities of the nuclear family to their networks of friends and I want to know more about how it looks like and about what shapes communities of singles these days,” Kislev said. He further added, “We should ask how the ‘new singles’ create communities, how they derive social support from their friends and wider family, and how these new constructs relate to their overall well-being over their life span.”
I mean, single people need a bit of attention too. In fact, we focus so much on how to create healthy relationships but what about being single in a healthy way? How to make healthy choices and fill your life with supportive people? “I believe the population of singles deserves more attention as such. I will even dare to say that we need to accept and embrace solo living more. Chasing after having a partner is fine as long as it is in line with our true goals, not those of our family or the society around us,” Kislev added.