Sex & Relationships

Singles are not how Hollywood glamorously depicts them, study finds

Hollywood hasn’t got one single thing right, apparently. 

Posh parties, glitzy girls’ night outs and weekends spent lounge-hopping around NYC regaling rich Romeos from barstool to barstool. It’s the glamorously exaggerated social life of partnerless people in cutesy rom-coms like “Sex and the City” and “How to Be Single.”

However, researchers from the University of Toronto have found that folks rolling solo aren’t really spending evenings on the town, mixing and mingling in the hopes of finding true love.

Instead, they’re happily home and alone. 

Hoan and her research team found that despite Hollywood’s glitzy depiction of single life — like “Sex and the City” — most non-daters are introverts who likely prefer to be alone than on a constant hunt for romance. Everett Collection

“The goal of the current research was first to provide a comprehensive examination of the links between personality traits and relationship status,” wrote authors of the February 2024 study, led by psychology professor Elaine Hoan. 

She and a team of analysts determined that most singletons are introverts — shy, reticent folks who prefer enjoying their own company to socializing with others. The findings revealed that, despite the fabulously full dance cards of singles on silver screens, many real-life loners are actually living their best lives. 

“As marriage rates decline and more people live alone, our study contributes to a more complex picture of single lives that goes beyond the misleading stereotype of the miserable single person,” said Hoan in a release

Hoan and her colleagues surveyed 1,800 participants between the ages of 20 to 59 who’d either been single or in a relationship for at least six months.

Recent research found that most singles are actually introverts who prefer their own company — despite productions like “Sex and the City,” which shows social singletons on an endless prowl for partnership. Getty Images/iStockphoto

Participants answered questions that measured their personalities, satisfaction with relationship status, sexual satisfaction and life satisfaction. 

“While on average people in relationships are more satisfied with their lives than single people, there are many happy singles — relationships don’t play as big of a role in one’s overall life satisfaction as you may think,” she continued. “We found that personality, more than relationship status, determines who is happy with their life and who isn’t.”

To discover whether each studied individual was an introvert or an extrovert — outgoing social butterflies — Hoan followed the “Big Five” model of personality. 

The model is a grouping of typical characteristics including extroversion (outgoing and high-energy), agreeableness (compassionate and respectful), conscientiousness (productive and dependable), neuroticism (anxious and depressed) and openness (curious and creative).

A participant’s placement on Hoan’s introversion-extroversion scale based on their self-described traits strongly indicated whether they would be single or in a relationship. 

“In a world that caters to extroverts, introverts are misrepresented as antisocial,” said Hoan. “The reality is, introverts enjoy their alone time and independence, and can emotionally regulate — meaning, they can manage their reactions to their feelings on their own.

“So, an introvert may prefer being single more than being in a relationship.”

“Introverts enjoy their alone time and independence, and can emotionally regulate — meaning, they can manage their reactions to their feelings on their own.” Getty Images

But their more sociable counterparts do have an innate leg up. 

“Extroverts are happier than introverts in general — regardless of whether they were single or not,” Hoan conceded. 

“Introversion makes it a bit tougher to get into a relationship in the first place,” she added, “because introverts may not find themselves in social situations as often.”

But if an introvert does decide to ditch going it alone for love, it’s best they choose an equally mousey mate. 

Researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder found that lovebirds with similar personality traits were likely to stay linked

Previous research has found that daters with similar personalities are more likely to be romantically compatible. Everett Collection

New York City dating coach Connell Barrett tells The Post that most of his introverted male clients are uncomfortably out on the dating scene, hoping to find a “Mrs. Right” who’ll join them in splendid solitude. 

Hoan hopes her research changes hackneyed narratives about single life.   

“There is stigma associated with being single — you know, people saying, ‘You’d be happier if you were in a relationship, so why aren’t you?’” she groaned. “That’s not necessarily true for everyone.

“I hope what people take is the idea that you don’t have to be someone you’re not,” added Hoan. “Just be yourself.”