A 2023 survey by Pew Research Center found that three in ten Americans are single, and 57% of them say they are not currently looking for a relationship or even a casual partner. They expressed contentment in their single status, highlighting that other priorities take precedence.
Although we’d expect singlehood to chip away at one’s ability to give good relationship advice, how is it that the perpetually single friend is usually best at giving spot-on solutions to your romantic problems? Here are three factors that make your single friend an expert relationship counsel.
1. Your Single Friend Is Unbiased
Single friends provide a valuable external perspective, free from emotional entanglements that might cloud one’s judgment in romantic relationships.
A study published in the Quarterly Journal Of Experimental Psychology indicates that when individuals consider other people’s situations, they show less egocentric bias. The detachment of single friends allows for a sober and practical viewpoint, providing an objective assessment of conditions and minimizing cognitive biases.
Moreover, single individuals benefit from ample time and space to observe and learn from their surroundings. Research suggests that solitary experiences foster a unique understanding and the ability to keenly observe people and their interactions. Feedback from emotionally uninvolved friends bridges the gap in self-awareness, providing valuable insights.
In contrast, those in romantic partnerships may lack meta-insight—a higher-order understanding of their own thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Partnered individuals may give more impetus to emotion over reason due their personal involvement, leading to impulsive or irrational decisions.
2. Your Single Friend Is Not In Love
A study published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships suggests that when giving romantic advice to others, people in relationships tend to draw from personal experience and past successes and failures.
Individuals in relationships may hesitate to offer advice they wouldn’t personally follow as they aim to avoid compromising their own partnerships. Conversely, single individuals tend to be more candid and realistic in their advice. Those in relationships may provide advice that aligns with their choices, possibly justifying their actions, while single people are less inclined to do so.
The distinction in thought processes between partnered and single individuals emphasizes the potential for more pragmatic and insightful guidance from the latter.
3. Your Single Friend Can See The Bigger Picture
Providing advice may be simple, but following through can be challenging, particularly when it affects one’s own relationship. Singles excel in offering advice because of the distance between them and the consequences of their recommendations.
Research suggests that people are generally more adept at observing and evaluating external behaviors and outcomes than reflecting on their internal states. As such, your single friend might be able to identify red flags you might be too close to see.
Single friends can encourage you to take the difficult decisions and have the uncomfortable conversations because they have a clear vantage point to discern what might be necessary for your relationship, no matter how challenging.
Your single friends might be your best shot at an unbiased perspective on your relationship—informed by emotional detachment and driven by genuine care for your well-being. Though all their suggestions may not be viable, considering their insights before making significant relationship decisions could be uniquely beneficial.
Psychological assessments are another good way to gain relationship clarity. Take the Relationship Satisfaction Scale to learn more.