TIME psychology

The #1 Way to Easily Improve All Your Relationships

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Eric Barker writes Barking Up the Wrong Tree.

Just try.

Put a small amount of conscious effort into trying to be a better friend, spouse, whatever.

That’s it.

Sounds ridiculous but research shows:

This piece originally appeared on Barking Up the Wrong Tree.

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TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME relationships

Environmentalist Hugs a Tree by Marrying It

... symbolically

A Peruvian man known for his environmentalism redefined the term “tree hugger” when he married a tree at a national park in Bogotá, Columbia on Sunday.

Richard Torres symbolically married the tree as a way to promote caring for trees in Columbia, and in an effort to encourage the rebels of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia to plant trees instead of inciting war, according to the Associated Press.

While Torres’ nuptials seem to have been intended more as an awareness-raising campaign, it is not unheard of for people to commit to spending the rest of their lives with a non-human or object. The 2008 documentary Married to the Eiffel Tower follow a number of people, mostly women, who claim to have long-term relationships with large objects.

This is reportedly Torres’ second time symbolically marrying a tree.

TIME psychology

Here’s How to Know Who Your Real Friends Are

Fackbook Acquires WhatsApp For $16 Billion
Justin Sullivan—Getty Images

Eric Barker writes Barking Up the Wrong Tree.

Look at your phone texting and calling patterns. Scientists are realizing they give powerful insights about relationships.

Via Sciencemag.org:

Just by analyzing the calling patterns, the researchers could accurately label two people as friends or nonfriends more than 95% of the time. But the results, published online today in theProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, show that the mobile phone data were better at predicting friendship than the subjects themselves. Thirty-two pairs of subjects switched from calling each other acquaintances to friends in the traditionally gathered survey data. These are most likely new relationships that formed during the course of the study, say the researchers, and they left a clear signal in the mobile phone data. Friends call each other far more often than acquaintances do when they are off-campus and during weekends. The pattern is so distinct that the researchers spotted budding friendships in the phone data months before the people themselves called themselves friends.

There’s another great article in the WSJ by Robert Lee Hotz about how scientists are using phone data to study our behavior — and learning more than they ever thought they could:

…at MIT, scientists who tracked student cellphones during the latest presidential election were able to deduce that two people were talking about politics, even though the researchers didn’t know the content of the conversation. By analyzing changes in movement and communication patterns, researchers could also detect flu symptoms before the students themselves realized they were getting sick.

“Phones can know,” said Dr. Pentland, director of MIT’s Human Dynamics Laboratory, who helped pioneer the research. “People can get this god’s-eye view of human behavior.”

Of course, companies are very interested in this data:

Cellphone providers are openly exploring other possibilities. By mining their calling records for social relationships among customers, several European telephone companies discovered that people were five times more likely to switch carriers if a friend had already switched, said Mr. Eagle, who works with the firms. The companies now selectively target people for special advertising based on friendships with people who dropped the service.

And some of the results are downright unnerving:

After analyzing more than 16 million records of call date, time and position, the researchers determined that, taken together, people’s movements appeared to follow a mathematical pattern. The scientists said that, with enough information about past movements, they could forecast someone’s future whereabouts with 93.6% accuracy.

The pattern held true whether people stayed close to home or traveled widely, and wasn’t affected by the phone user’s age or gender.

A few other interesting tidbits:

  1. Overall, our phones make us happier. (There’s even an app for that.)
  2. They may be making us more selfish, however. Our phones can fulfill our need for human contact, making us less inclined to go out of our way to help others.
  3. These devices can distract us so much we don’t notice the world around us — even if it contains unicycling clowns. (To be fair, people may actually like us better when we are distracted during a conversation.)
  4. We’ve become so addicted to our phones that two-thirds of users report hearing “phantom ringing.”
  5. We rely so much on these devices that a third of people under 30 can’t remember their home phone numbers — if they have one at all.
  6. 5% of relationships were ended by text message. People even get divorced via text. (iPhone users are more promiscuous, by the way.)
  7. By stripping away the emotional information in faces and intonation, text messaging might be simulating autism.
  8. That said, text message reminders have effectively encouraged saving, reduced smoking and increased voting.

This piece originally appeared on Barking Up the Wrong Tree.

Join over 135,000 readers. Get a free weekly update via email here.

Related posts:

How To Make Your Life Better By Sending Five Simple Emails

How To Stop Being Lazy And Get More Done – 5 Expert Tips

New Harvard Research Reveals A Fun Way To Be More Successful

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME People

What Made Carly Simon Decide to Marry James Taylor

Carly Simon and James Taylor
Carly Simon and James Taylor performing Richard E. Aaron—Redferns / Getty Images

There's nothing quite like a magazine cover

In the new issue of TIME, music legend Carly Simon discusses Taylor Swift’s career — and revealed a surprising story about her own history:

“In 1971, I was walking down the street with my sister, we had just crammed Indian food into our mouths and were walking home. And I looked at the cover of TIME Magazine and it was James Taylor, whom I’d never met. And I looked at him from fairly far away, and I said to my sister, ‘I’m gonna marry that man,'” Simon told TIME’s Jack Dickey.

“What were they thinking?” Simon asked about the cover’s psychedelic composition, “But it did have a supernatural quality, at least in getting the message to me.

Simon and Taylor, fans will know, married in 1972. They met, according to Rolling Stone, just about a month after Simon would have seen that fateful magazine. The two divorced in 1983.

Here’s that magical cover:

James Taylor (Mar. 1, 1971) J. H. BRESLOW

Read the 1971 cover story, here in the TIME Vault: The New Rock: Bittersweet and Low

Read TIME’s new cover story about Taylor Swift: The Power of Taylor Swift

 

TIME psychology

How to Have a Great Relationship — 5 New Secrets From Research

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Eric Barker writes Barking Up the Wrong Tree.

What is love? (Sit down. This might take a minute.)

I’ve posted a lot about the science around love, including how to tell if your spouse is cheating and why high heels are sexy.

But what about the stuff we need to know to be happy? Platitudes don’t cut it and though the poets are often right they’re frequently vague.

Is there an expert who can give us some real answers about love: how to find it, nurture it and maybe even repair it?

You better believe there is. Arthur Aron is one of the world’s top researchers on romantic love.

He is a professor at Stony Brook University and author of a number of key books on the subject of relationships including:

I gave Arthur a call and learned what makes us attractive, how to have a great first date, and the things that kill and improve relationships.

Let’s get started.

So What The Heck Is Love Anyway?

Love isn’t an emotion, really. When you look at fMRI studies of the brain it shows up more as a desire. A craving.

And that explains why it feels so good. As far as the ol’ gray matter’s concerned love’s right up there with cocaine and cash.

All three activate the same area of the brain — the dopamine reward system.

Here’s Arthur:

When you’re in love with someone romantically, the areas of the brain that are activated when you think about them are what we call the dopamine reward system. The same system that responds to cocaine and expecting to win a lot of money. Love seems to be more of a desire than an emotion.

So, yeah, even neuroscience agrees that love is intense. But can anything that powerful last? Doesn’t it eventually have to fizzle?

Not necessarily. Research shows some couples are very much in love 40-50 years later.

Here’s Arthur:

Another thing we’ve learned both from that research and from surveys is passionate romantic love can exist in people that have been together 40 years, 50 years. We don’t know the percentage. But people who claim to be very intensely in love that have been married and are in their 70s show the same patterns of neural response to a large extent as people who have just fallen in love.

Want your marriage to last more than 30 years? Just “being married” often isn’t enough: you also need to be good friends.

Via 100 Simple Secrets of Great Relationships:

In studies of people happily married more than three decades, the quality of friendship between the partners was the single most frequently cited factor in the relationships’ success. – Bachand and Caron 2001

(For more on how to keep love alive and live happily ever after, click here.)

So what do we need to know to have a good relationship that stands the test of time? Let’s start with attractiveness.

This Is What Makes You Attractive

Looking good matters. Duh. But it’s far from the only thing.

Arthur also found that we’re more attracted to people who are attracted to us. So showing interest gets people interested in you.

And believing the two of you are similar is powerful (whether you’re actually similar, well, is another story…)

Here’s Arthur:

You are much more likely to be attracted to someone who you think will be attracted to you, or who has shown they’re attracted to you. And believing the person is similar turns out to matter a lot. Their actually being similar doesn’t matter so much but believing they’re similar does.

Believe it or not, other research shows even having similar fighting styles is a good thing.

It was related to double digit drops in conflict and a double digit increase in satisfaction.

Via 100 Simple Secrets of Great Relationships:

While people may employ many different conflict resolution strategies in a relationship, when both partners use the same strategy they experience 12 percent less conflict and are 31 percent more likely to report their relationship is satisfying. – Pape 2001

And while we’re on the subject of attraction, how about “playing hard to get?” Does it work?

Nope. Pretending you’re not interested in the other person is a terrible strategy.

However, making it look like you’re picky and have high standards but that you are interested in this person, that works very well.

Here’s Arthur:

Playing “hard to get” does not help. It’s good for a person you meet to think you’re being hard for others to get but not hard for them to get. That’s sort of the ideal partner: one that’s hard for everyone else to get but is interested in you.

(For more on how to flirt — scientifically — click here.)

How many internet dates do you need to go on to end up in a relationship? Online dating data says 3.8. But what should you do on that date?

How To Have A Great First Date

So how did Arthur become so well known as the big researcher on romantic love? He did the classic “bridge study.”

It showed that if we feel something, we associate it with who is around us — even if they’re not the cause.

So if our environment makes us feel excited, we can mistake it for feeling in love. Check out a video of the study here:

So what’s that mean practically? Roller coasters, concerts, anything exciting with energy in the air makes for a great date.

Here’s Arthur:

When in the initial stages of dating, you might want to do something physiologically arousing with the person. The classic is to go on a roller coaster ride or do something like that as long as it’s not too scary.

In fact, research shows you might even be attracted to someone trying to kill you. Researchers simulated a torture scenario and found exactly that.

Via The Heart of Social Psychology: A Backstage View of a Passionate Science:

Those in the high-fear condition did show, for example, significantly more desire to kiss my confederate (one of the key questions) and wrote more romantic and sexual content into their stories. Looking at the details of these results, I found that the situation had generated, quite specifically, romantic attraction.

Other than excitement, what else is good to do? Open up. Not too much, too fast, but start sharing. Superficial conversation is boring.

Here’s Arthur:

Another thing is to try to keep the conversation from being too superficial — but you don’t want to move too quickly. You can scare a person away if you right away tell them the deepest things in your life.

Research shows that talking about STD’s and abortion is better than bland topics. Other studies show that discussing travel is good but movies are bad.

But what you say isn’t everything. It’s also how you react to what they say. Be responsive and engaged.

Here’s Arthur:

There’s some wonderful work by Harry Reis and his colleagues on self-disclosure showing it’s not how much is disclosed but how you respond to the other person’s self-disclosure. You want to be very responsive to hear what they’re saying, to show that you understand it, to show that you value what they’re saying and appreciate it.

In fact, the best self-disclosure can produce a bond almost as strong as a lifetime friendship in less than an hour. Seriously.

Arthur ran this test with two graduate students, trying to produce a romantic connection. What happened? They ended up getting married.

Here’s Arthur:

The very first pair we ran, which were a couple of research assistants in our lab who weren’t involved in this study, they actually did fall in love and got married.

(For the list of self-disclosure questions Arthur used in that study, click here.)

So the date goes well and you’re together. What makes relationships go bad? And how can you dodge that?

The Real Reason Why Relationships Fail

Think you two are badly matched? You’re probably wrong. Arthur says this is a common mistake.

Who you are and what you’re like has a much bigger effect than the match between you two.

If you’re insecure, anxious or depressed you’ll have trouble connecting withanyone.

Here’s Arthur:

Most people think that how well a relationship will work has to do with the match between you whereas that only matters a little bit. Much more important is who you are, and then secondly, who the partner is. If you are insecure, anxious, or depressed, you’ll have a hard time with anyone. Who you are and who the other person is matters much more than the match.

Think you two are going through difficult times but you’ll come out stronger? Probably wrong again.

Difficult times don’t usually strengthen a relationship — more often they destroy it.

Here’s Arthur:

Long-term relationships of any kind have a very hard time when there are great stressors on people. If you live in a war zone, or you have a child die, or someone loses their job, it’s really hard for a marriage to survive. When things aren’t going well and we behave badly or our partner behaves badly it’s common to jump to the conclusion that it’s always been this way and that things will always be this way. When something stressful is happening we need to remember it’s not always like this.

Other research has shown that trying to change the other person is a killer as well. Often, you need to accept your partner for who they are.

69% of a couple’s problems are perpetual. These problems don’t go away yet many couples keep arguing about them year after year.

Via The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work:

Most marital arguments cannot be resolved. Couples spend year after year trying to change each other’s mind – but it can’t be done. This is because most of their disagreements are rooted in fundamental differences of lifestyle, personality, or values. By fighting over these differences, all they succeed in doing is wasting their time and harming their marriage.

(To learn the four things that most often kill relationships, click here.)

Okay, so maybe things aren’t going so hot. Everybody thinks they know how to make it better. What does the research say really works?

4 Things That Really Improve Relationships

Like Arthur said above: it’s not usually the match, it’s usually one of the people in the relationship.

So if you have personal issues like depression, anger or insecurity, get help.Fixing you is the best step toward a better relationship.

Here’s Arthur:

First, look at your own life. Are you anxious, depressed, or insecure? Did you have a really difficult childhood? If so, do something. That would be number one.

Relationships stop being fun because we stop trying to make them fun.

Early on you did cool things together but now it’s just Netflix and pizza on the couch. Every. Single. Night.

What to do? Just like the recommendation for a good first date: It’s about excitement.

Here’s Arthur:

After a while, things are sort of settled and there isn’t much excitement, so what can you do? Do things that are exciting that you associate with your partner. Reinvigorate that excitement and the main way to make them associated with the partner is to do them with your partner.

What’s the third most important thing for keeping love alive? “Capitalization” is vital. (No, I don’t mean using bigger letters.)

Celebrate your partner’s successes. Be their biggest fan.

How a couple celebrates the good times is more important than how they deal with the bad times.

Not acting impressed by your partner’s achievements? Congratulations, you’re killing your relationship.

Here’s Arthur:

Celebrating your partner’s successes turns out to be pretty important. When things go badly and you provide support, it doesn’t make the relationship good, but it keeps it from getting bad. Whereas if things are going okay and your partner has something good happen and you celebrate it sincerely, you’re doing something that can make a relationship even better.

The fourth thing Arthur mentioned was gratitude. And not only does it help relationships, it’s one of the keys to a happy life.

What’s the research say? Can’t be more clear than this:

…the more a person is inclined to gratitude, the less likely he or she is to be depressed, anxious, lonely, envious, or neurotic.

(To learn the science behind how to be a good kisser, click here.)

So that’s a lot of solid relationship advice. How do we pull all this together and put it to use?

Sum Up

Here’s what Arthur said can help you have a great relationship:

  1. According to your own brain, love is right up there with cocaine and cash. And it can last if you treat it right.
  2. Want to be attractive? Make yourself look good, emphasize similarities, and let the person know you’re picky — but that you do like them.
  3. A great first date is something that creates excitement and energy. Share things about yourself and respond positively when your partner does.
  4. Relationships often fail because of individual issues, not because of a bad match. Resolve difficulties as soon as you can; they don’t strengthen relationships, they cripple them.
  5. Improve your relationship by dealing with your personal issues, doing exciting things together, celebrating your partner’s successes and showing gratitude.

It’s easy to get lazy when things are going well. But a little effort can go a long way — and not just toward a better relationship.

The research shows love has many positive effects like increasing success, longevity, health and happiness.

Here’s Arthur:

The evidence shows that relationship quality plays a huge role in longevity. The findings are that the importance of being in a good relationship versus being alone is a bigger effect than smoking or obesity on how long we live. And the quality of your relationships is also the biggest factor associated with general life happiness.

If you don’t have someone special in your life, here’s how to find them.

And if you do have someone, make an effort today. Celebrate any good news they have and plan something exciting to do this week.

And then show them a little gratitude. Does anything feel better than hearing how much we mean to someone else?

This piece originally appeared on Barking Up the Wrong Tree.

Join over 130,000 readers. Get a free weekly update via email here.

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How To Be A Good Kisser – 10 Tips From Scientific Research

Recipe For A Happy Marriage: The 7 Scientific Secrets

What 10 things should you do every day to improve your life?

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME relationships

How China’s Singles’ Day Holiday Sold Out

China Marks Super Singles Day
A couple pose next to marriage certificates on November 11, 2011 in Anyang, Henan Province of China. Singles Day ChinaFotoPress—Getty Images

The anti-Valentine's Day meaning has flipped for some celebrants, with the help of online shopping

When Yue Xu began a dating consulting business for men in Beijing last year, she noticed that many of her clients had set the exact same day to quit bachelor-dom. That deadline fell on November 11, or 1-1-1-1, China’s National Singles’ Day.

“Rather than seeing it as a way of celebrating single-hood, they see it as an end date,” Xu tells Time. “This is the last day I’m going to be single.”

It wasn’t always that way. As the lore goes, students at Nanjing University started Singles’ Day in 1993 as a way to celebrate being single, largely by buying themselves presents. But Xu, who studies China’s emerging dating scene, says the nation’s concept of being “single” is only a recent development. “China used to be a society where there was no dating culture,” she says. “There was no going on dates to turn into a relationship. You see someone if you can marry them or you never see them again. It’s all or nothing.”

Xu says people were asked if they were married or “not married” rather than married or “single.” The “single” label began emerging over the past few decades, largely due to exposure to Western culture, in films and television. Once the concept was commonly accepted, it grew in significance. “Single is the equivalent of saying you’re hungry [rather than saying you haven’t eaten yet],” Xu explains. “It means you’re needing something. And China is creating this demand for people to get married.”

While this pressure is placed on men and women, in Xu’s experience men are the hungriest. This could be, in part, due to the country’s increasing gender gap. In China, there will be an expected 30 million more adult men than women by 2020. In 2009, Singles’ Day was initially marketed towards men as “Bachelor’s Day,” although it is now embraced by both sexes.

But just as Valentine’s Day was embraced by Hallmark and other corporations in the U.S., China’s anti-Valentine’s Day was quickly co-opted by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, which latched onto the event in 2009 and turned it into a day of massive online sales. Last year’s Singles’ Day resulted in $5.8 billion in sales over the course of 24-hours, which is 2.5 times more than Cyber Monday in the United States. Obviously retail therapy knows no geographic bounds.

And Xu says that this isn’t only a time in which people are buying themselves balloons and flowers and “doing the whole Sex and the City thing” — although they definitely are doing that too. Instead, they’re using those sales to help make this Singles’ Day their last. “There are karaoke dating events, blind dates,” she says. “A lot of people use this day to find the loves of their lives.”

“This is about giving a gift that will woo that perfect someone,” echoes managing director of Marbridge Consulting Mark Natkin, to HuffPost. “If you play your cards right, you only need to make that purchase once.”

While American culture might be partially responsible for Singles’ Day, some companies are now attempting to bring the Chinese holiday to America.

“This year for Singles Day, our keyword is globalization,” Tmall, an Alibaba site, CEO Wang Yulei wrote for Sina Tech. ” Starting from this year, future Singles Days will definitely not just be for consumers in a particular region, Singles Day will be for the whole world.”

Dealmoon, a Chinese-American e-commerce site, is using this year to expose the holiday to its American audience. It explained the holiday to its merchants — which include companies ranging from Panasonic to Clinique — which readily agreed to Singles’ Day promotions. More than 50 exclusive deals will be on the site Tuesday.

“This is a day for shopping,” Dealmoon CEO Jennifer Wang tells Time. “We are hoping to expand it to an American audience. A deal is a deal.”

TIME relationships

How Social Media Makes Breakups Uglier for Everyone

Broken heart
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Oversharing isn't any good for the sharer

This article originally appeared on Refinery29.com.

We get it. When you’re in the throes of a breakup, a public display of affection or hate seems like the only logical move that could possibly capture the emotions bubbling up inside your being. But, in reality, a Twitter rant about your ex is usually more pathetic and off-putting than touching or convincing. And, ever since the breakup Post-it became the breakup Facebook post, our various networks seem to be making this already-difficult process even more agonizing.

(MORE: How To End That On-Again, Off-Again Relationship — For Good)

To get a picture of what it looks like when a relationship ends on social media, researchers at Aalto University in Finland went to Twitter. They looked at tweets posted during a 28-hour period from users whose profiles mentioned another user along with a word like “boyfriend” or “girlfriend.” (Wisely, the researchers made sure not to include people whose proclaimed S.O. was a celebrity.) This left 40,000 pairs of users who seemed to be romantically linked IRL. After following these users for a period of six months, the researchers were able to pick out the ones who had broken up — and hone in on the language used in tweets before and after the uncoupling. As pictured in the resulting magnificent word clouds, the researchers found that phrases like “I hate when you” and “shut the f**k up” replaced “I love you” post-breakup.

Obviously, as our feelings towards our partners change, so do our interactions with them. But, what’s less obvious is how much of an effect that public exchange has on its audience, a.k.a. all your other followers. Sure, some of us are probably drawn to (or at least entertained by) that drama, but another study suggests the majority of your Facebook friends would appreciate if you kept your relationship news to yourself. For this one, researchers showed 100 participants fake Facebook timelines and asked them to rate the person’s levels of relationship satisfaction and commitment, based on their posts. Participants thought the Fakebookers who dished a lot about their relationships were the most satisfied — but, they also disliked them the most.

(MORE: Does Your Brain Feel The Effects Of A Breakup?)

Oversharing isn’t any good for the sharer, either, especially after the breakup. Forgetting about our exes (at least partially) seems to be an essential step of moving on. And, according to at least one small study, that’s even harder to do when your relationship details are scattered across the Internet. Here, the researchers took an in-depth look at the post-breakup behavior of 24 participants and found they could sort them into three categories: keepers, deleters, and selective disposers of their relationships’ digital artifacts. It seems those who were able to selectively disengage from their online interactions with their exes were the most well-adjusted.

So, although social media does have the power to bring us closer together, it makes it harder to forget about each other, too. But, we’ll forgive the post-relationship over-sharers, because we all know breaking up is hard to do — online or off.

(MORE: What To Do When Your Friends Break Up)

TIME apps

Soon You Will Be Able to Undo Your Accidental Left Swipe on Tinder

App Tinder
Tinder App Franziska Kraufmann—picture-alliance/dpa/AP

It could be love at second swipe

Remember the pain you felt deep in your chest when you unconsciously left-swiped that would-be bae-of-your-dreams away while feverishly perusing Tinder? Remember how you hoped and prayed that somehow that special Tinderoni would reappear, all in vain?

Well, apparently you weren’t alone. A back-button is the “most requested feature” among Tinder users, according to co-founder Sean Rad, in a recent interview published by Tech Crunch on Tuesday (the same day Rad announced he would step down as CEO of the company but stay on as president and board member).

Soon the folks at Tinder will unveil a paid version of the dating app that will allow users to “undo” left swipes, TechCrunch reports. With the new version—called “Tinder Plus”—users can also search for matches outside of their region. Tinder Plus will be available soon for select users in the UK, Brazil and Germany.

So, that feeling of deep loneliness you felt when you missed out on The One may soon be nothing more than a distant memory. Of course, there’s still no guarantee your almost-missed-match won’t turn out like this.

[TechCrunch]

TIME relationships

These Are the Top 5 Reasons People Reject Marriage Proposals

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Getty Images

Key takeaway: if you want them to say yes, choose a romantic setting

If you’re thinking of proposing to someone soon, then you’re presumably hoping they will say yes. Or, better, yet, “Yes! Yes! A thousand times yes!” or some other dramatic thing. If that’s the case, a recent study conducted by VoucherCloud about why people choose to reject proposals might be of use to you.

The company surveyed 2,144 American residents, both male and female, who were 21 years or older and had previously rejected a proposal, Bustle reports. The participants didn’t have to choose one specific reason — instead, they were asked for all the factors that contributed to their rejection. These were the five most reasons:

  1. Unromantic proposal setting: 67 percent
  2. Poor ring choice: 53 percent
  3. Bad wording of the proposal: 51 percent
  4. Lack of trust in the relationship: 39 percent
  5. Scared of the commitment: 36 percent

These results may seem a bit surprising. The reasons seem fairly: poor ring choice? Lame location? “As much as it seems silly to turn down the big question because the cost isn’t high enough, it’s important to remember that getting engaged is a huge moment in your life,”VoucherCloud’s Matthew Wood told Bustle. “It’s an investment and should be treated as such.” Of course, he added that there “are ways to make a person feel special during a proposal without going bankrupt.”

So, take all of this with a grain of salt, of course, but it couldn’t hurt to pick an extra romantic proposal location. Just in case.

(h/t Bustle)

Read next: This Ridiculously Romantic Ad Aims to End Divorce

TIME relationships

Men Swipe Right on Tinder 3 Times as Much as Women

App Tinder
Tinder App Franziska Kraufmann—picture-alliance/dpa/AP

More "likes" than "nopes"

Men apparently see much more that they like on Tinder than women do.

On the popular dating app, which has users swipe right to indicate they “like” a potential match and swipe left to say “nope,” men are almost three times as likely to swipe right than women are, the New York Times reports. Men do it 46% of the time, while women do it just 14% of the time.

MORE: The new dating game

The Times, citing an unnamed source, reports that Tinder now has close to 50 million active users. Co-founder and CEO Sean Rad touted its more realistic appeal to physical attraction over the algorithms that other dating sites say yield compatible matches, algorithms viewed skeptically by social scientists.

“When was the last time you walked into a bar and someone said, ‘Excuse me, can you fill out this form and we’ll match you up with people here?’” Rad said. “That’s not how we think about meeting new people in real life.”

[NYT]

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