The Best of Times or the Worst of Times for Marriage?

Fewer people are marrying than ever before, as claims about the power of marriage—for adults, for children, and for society—intensify. How accurate are those claims? What are the implications of offering more incentives to people to get married and more benefits and protections once they do?

What We All Get So Wrong About Narcissists

To determine whether narcissists really do use more "I-talk" (I, me, my, mine) than everyone else, 9 psychologists from 7 universities analyzed data from more than 4,000 people in 15 samples. They looked at face-to-face introductions and personal essays and Facebook pages and classrooms and small groups. They explain why they did not find what you thought they would.

A Happy Life or a Meaningful One? They Are Not the Same

Although experiencing happiness and meaningfulness in your life often go together, they are not exactly the same. Research shows what kinds of experiences are markers of a life that is happy but not meaningful, and the (sometimes surprising) experiences that comprise a life that is meaningful, but not happy.

10 Awkward Moments, and 6 Ways to Escape Them

We all have socially awkward experiences, but what makes a social interaction so uncomfortable? Research has pointed to 10 kinds of experiences that are especially likely to make people feel awkward, and 6 things people can do to escape from the awkwardness (without just walking away) and feel comfortable again.

Is a Solitary Life a Shorter Life? Results of Big New Review

A new review of a huge amount of data suggests that loneliness, social isolation, and living alone are all linked to shorter lives. Does that mean that living alone is bad for your health even if you love going solo? That's what the New York Times claimed. Here's why they are wrong.

The Wrong Way to Help Children

For the first time, more babies are being born to cohabiting mothers than single mothers. Both of those family types are worse off economically than married-parent families.

23 Quips for Marriage Skeptics and Lovers of Single Life

Some great insights about solitude, single life, and marriage, offered with brevity and sometimes a touch of humor

Finding "The One" Is Overrated: Emotionships Matter More

New research shows the power of having different people in your life who are good at helping you with different kinds of emotions.

Can You Trust Married People to Keep a Secret?

If you have friends who are married, should you assume that those friends share all of your communications and conversations – both the routine ones and those told in confidence – with their spouse? What does it mean if couples see themselves only as a unit and not also as individuals?

Check Your Marital Privilege

There is a vast swath of unearned privileges that have gone largely unrecognized, even though they unfairly advantage about half of the adult population in the U.S.—marital privileges. People who marry enjoy social, cultural, economic, and political advantages that single people do not, simply because they are married.

Are You a Perfectionist?

A 30-item quiz promises to reveal your perfectionist tendencies and, along the way, let you know what perfectionism really is. But how do you know whether this quiz, or any other, really does measure what it claims to measure?

Best Media Debunking of the Myth of Marital Bliss

For way too long, reporters who should know better have been perpetuating myths about the benefits of marrying based on working papers and press releases. Finally, someone challenged those claims instead of just repeating them.

How Not to Think About Single People

When "experts" offer their opinions on single people, they sometimes reveal what they do not know about single people and single life. A recent New York Times story includes a number of claims just begging to be critiqued. Readers, have at it!

How to Be Happily Single for Life

In a study of lifelong single people in Ireland, 65 and older, those who had chosen to live single were happier and had fewer regrets than those who were single because of constraints. The single-by-choice seniors were contentedly pursuing their interests, volunteering, and socializing with friends and relatives.

Marital Privilege: It's Not Just a Courtroom Thing

The growing awareness of white privilege and male privilege has opened our eyes to many other kinds of privileges. Yet amidst all this consciousness-raising, most people have remained oblivious to the unearned privileges that advantage at least half of the adult population – people who are married.

Getting Married Makes You Happier? No, Part 2 [UPDATED]

Heard about the recent research supposedly showing that marrying makes people lastingly happier? It actually showed that in vast swaths of the world, married people are not happier than single people. It also replicated the finding that any increase in happiness among people who get married and stay married is just a short-lived honeymoon effect.

Getting Married Makes You Happier? Again, No, Part 1

In this, the first of two posts on the latest study claiming that getting married makes you happier, I explain why no study has ever definitively shown that getting married causes people to become happier—and no study ever will. In Part 2, I'll critique the latest study in detail.

Your Comfort Zone: Should You Just Stay in It?

Overcome your limitations? No, embrace them. So says Meghan Daum in one of the many brilliant essays in her new book, "The Unspeakable: And Other Subjects of Discussion."

Why Don't We Confide in the People Closest to Us?

Researchers have long assumed that we discuss our most intimate matters only with the most important people in our lives. A sociologist just tested that assumption, and discovered just how wrong we have been.

Top 2014 Living Single Posts – and a Few Other Things, Too

Here are the 2014 Living Single posts that attracted the greatest number of page views, plus some other things, too.

Can a Computer Tell When You Are Lying?

If I fed a transcript of your communications into a computer, could the computer tell if you were lying? In a review of 44 studies, some cues to deception were unearthed by the computer programs. In important ways, though, the computers were really pretty lame at figuring out who was lying.

Are We Less Lonely Than We've Been in Decades?

For decades, teenagers and young adults have been telling researchers how lonely they feel. Guess what? In contrast to all the scary headlines you have been seeing about the increasingly lonely Americans, trends suggest just the opposite. What should we make of that?

How to Be Alone: 14 Quips and Tips

I wasn't so sure I would appreciate a book called "How to Be Alone" – I love my solitude and hardly need lessons. It turns out, though, that Sara Maitland's book is filled with great insights and perspectives. Here are a few of my favorites.

Telling Lies: Fact, Fiction, and Nonsense, by Maria Hartwig

You have probably heard countless claims about detecting deception made by Paul Ekman, the most famous deception researcher in the world. In my opinion, he is not the best deception researcher. Maria Hartwig is. I have asked her to tell us what we should and should not believe about cues to deception, and how well we can detect deception, in this guest post.

Who Can't Keep their Stories Straight: A Cue to Deception?

It seems obvious that over time, the statements given by witnesses who are telling the truth will be more consistent than those given by witnesses who are lying. The prosecutor in the Ferguson, Missouri case (in which a white police officer shot and killed an unarmed Black man) seemed to assume that. But is it true?

How to Become Your True Self

Social scientists have addressed one of the central questions of our lives: How do we become our best and truest self? The goals we set and the plans we make are critical, but how do we know whether we are pursuing the goals that will result in a meaningful and fulfilling life?

I Heart Me -- Really?

The Chinese have outdone the Americans with the day they set aside for their shopping extravaganza. And it all started with single men marking their marital status with drinks.

Are You Guilty of Friend Jealousy, or a Victim of It?

When people see their romantic partner as the center of their life, but are not so sure their partner feels the same way about them, friends get caught in the cross-hairs. People who are insecure about their romantic relationship act badly when their loved-one wants to hang out with friends—and that bad behavior threatens the relationship they care about the most.

7 Ways Your Negative Thoughts Can Help You

In the workplace, in your relationships, and in everyday life, there are ways in which negative thoughts and bad feelings can actually be good for you. Here are 7 research-based examples.

No to Marriage: Not a Good Deal, or not Even on the Table?

Many people who choose to live single are not doing so because they are waiting for "the one" or "putting marriage aside" or because marriage "does not offer a good deal anymore." Marriage was never on the table.