Single? Altruistic Acts Could Help You Find Romance

Researchers have found that singles who spend their free time helping friends and neighbors are more likely to be in a relationship a year later. And who says nice guys finish last?

If you're looking for romantic companionship, Tom Jacobs from Pacific Standard has pointed to a recent study that has found altruistic and pro-social behavior increases your odds of finding a  partner.


The study, published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, used data from an annual survey conducted by the German Institute of Economic Research since 1984. The survey asked participants questions like, “how often they engaged in a number of activities in their free time, including 'helping out friends, relatives or neighbors.'" The participants rated their own pro-social behavior on a scale of one (weekly) to four (never).

The researchers then zeroed in on 12,775 participants who reported that they were single on one or more of the years when those questions were asked. They then checked to see if they had changed their relationship status in the next year. Out of those people, 14 percent indicated that they had a significant other the following year.  What's more, the higher participants rated their frequency of “helping behavior” on the survey's scale, the more likely they were to be in a relationship the following year—their chances were between 25 percent and 46 percent higher.

The researchers write:

“Our results show that single individuals who frequently engaged in pro-social behavior had substantially higher chances of being in a stable relationship the following year. The effect persisted even after accounting for individual differences in the Big Five personality traits and the degree of social involvement.”

The researchers offer a suggestion for why helpful, pro-social behavior, was such a strong factor in finding a significant other. They write that altruistic behavior "may represent a 'courtship display' that signals the presence of good character, or good parenting qualities."

For people who may have moved to a new neighborhood, and are looking for a way to get out and meet someone, find a cause you believe in and pitch-in. You'll be providing an invaluable service to your community and helping yourself get acquainted with someone new—who knows it may even turn into a romantic relationship.

Read more at Pacific Standard

Photo Credit: rabiem22/Flickr

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