Among the many myths I busted in Singled Out were the ones that single people are isolated and self-centered. Research on those myths has continued to proliferate, and the results are very consistent. It is single people, more so than married people, who maintain ties with other people and who provide long-term help to people who need it.

Below are links to some of my writings on the topic, other than Singled Out. For most of the articles in which I discussed research findings, I have provided a brief summary. If you read just one of the articles in this collection, it should probably be this one, The social lives of single people, about the important people in the lives of single people.

I. Single people help more and provide more care

Think single people are selfish? The research proves otherwise (Washington Post)

Unselfish singles: They give more time, money, and care

8 ways singles are more connected, caring, and generous

Here are evidence-based ways in which single people are more connected to other people, provide more care for others, and are more generous than married people. This article also includes a discussion of why it matters that marriage has become such a “greedy institution.”

Single with ailing parents: Who cares?

Ursula Henz analyzed the responses of a nationally representative sample of more than 9,000 British adults to the question, “Do you currently or have you ever regularly looked after someone, for at least three months, who is sick, disabled, or elderly?” She found that singles had done so more often than married people.

In a qualitative study of the care-work provided by 37 always-single women from England and Scotland, Roona Simpson found that “the expectation that caring for dependent family members is the duty particularly of spinsters, regardless of other commitments, is enduring and pervasive.” (She is not using the word spinster in a derogatory way but is instead reclaiming it, the way the GLBT community reclaimed the word queer.)

Parents, be careful what you wish for (Many parents want their children to marry but it is their single kids who help them most)

Why do single sons and daughters help their parents so much more than married kids do?

Chores without borders: Who helps people in other households?

Singles are more likely than adults of other marital statuses to provide help to friends, neighbors, and coworkers, including transportation, errands, and shopping; housework, yard work, repairs, or other work around the house; and advice, encouragement, or moral or emotional support.

Women who stayed single, no kids, in their 70s: How are they doing? (they volunteer more, among other things)

Is this the myth about singles that single people are most likely to believe? (about selfishness)

II.  Singles are more connected; people who marry become more insular

The social lives of single people

Probably the most comprehensive overview available anywhere of the important people in the lives of single people and how they matter. Shows that: Compared to married people, single people have more friends and bigger social networks. They do more to maintain their relationships with their friends, relatives, neighbors, and coworkers. They also get more happiness and emotional fulfillment from the time they spend with their friends and relatives.

Across 40 comparisons, singles are more connected to other people than married people are in every one

Singles invest more in friends, then enjoy payoffs in self-esteem

People who choose to be single value their friends more, have more satisfying social lives

Who keeps siblings together when they become adults?

By following the same people over time, sociologist Lynn White found that those who got married had less contact with their siblings than they did when they were single, and those who got divorced had more contact than they did when they were married.

Slighting friends and family: Do couples become less couple-y over time?

In a longitudinal study, people who got married or who began cohabiting were followed for six years. When they first entered a union, the participants had less contact with their parents and spent less time with their friends than they had when they were single. Between four and six years later, they still had the same reduced ties with parents and friends – the insularity that occurred when people got married was not just a honeymoon effect.

Why do some married people neglect their friends?

Contrary to stereotypes, married people are less connected to friends, neighbors, parents, and siblings than single people are. An explanation favored by pundits, that married people are too busy with their kids, ignores the fact that marital status and parental status are different, and it is also taken down by the evidence. As Naomi Gerstel and Natalia Sarkisian explain, “These differences in contacts and assistance emerge even if the married, never married, and previously married are the same age and have the same class position (similar amounts of income and education, and similar employment status). And the differences between the married and unmarried exist both among parents of young children and among the childless. They also exist among whites, African Americans, and Hispanics. Further, these differences exist for both women and men.”

Gain a romantic partner, lose 2 friends?

Robin Dunbar suggests that when people get married, their spouse replaces one of their former friends and an additional friend gets dropped, too.

Do married couples slight their family members as well as their friends?

If you are single, will you grow old alone? Results from 6 nations

Single people have more friends

Single and lonely? The truth may be exactly the opposite

Single Americans are hardly flying solo (with Kay Trimberger)

III. Single People Do Have Attachment Relationships

Single and securely attached

Latest study: Single people do not have attachment problems

No attachment issues among single people: How to make even good findings sound bad

Can you be your own source of comfort and security?

IV. Other relevant themes

If you aren’t in a relationship, who is ‘your person’?

No partner, no worries: New study of psychological health (loneliness, depression, and stress)

Are we less lonely than we’ve been in decades?

Who’s afraid of single people? (Lists many ways in which single people are more connected to other people than married people are.)

The stunning appeal of a story about a man who died alone

Who guides the next generation? It’s not (just) who you think

Having it all? Four reasons why I’m having none of it

‘So sorry you’re still married’: New anniversary card greeting?

No, single people, your lives are not second rate

Single, no children: Who’s your family?

Who is your family if you are single with no kids? Part 2

[Also see this section on loneliness]

Single, No Children: Who Is Your Family?