Why Couples Judge Single Friends (And Vice Versa)

Are you single and your friends in relationships are always trying to get you to couple up? Are you in a relationship and your single friends are always trying to get you to ditch monogamy in favor of singledom/casual sex/OkCupid?

There's something researchers call "normative idealization," which is the tendency to idealize one's lifestyle and to believe that others would benefit from a similar lifestyle. While it may appear that the people that participate in this behavior are just super confident in the lives they've chosen, they may actually be trying to feel better about their own choices, according to a Stanford and University of Waterloo study published in Psychological Science .

It seems that those smug couples may be worrying that their single friends are judging them (or having a better time), and self-satisfied single people may actually fear that love is the ideal but, alas, will never be, concludes The Conversation's Samantha Joel.

Researchers conducted a series of tests to measure why people "often become evangelists" for their own lifestyles, especially in terms of relationship status. "People are rarely content to simply say 'being single works for me' or 'being in a relationship suits my disposition,'" the researchers wrote. Results suggest this tendency comes in part from a desire to rationalize one’s own relationship status, they say. And one way to do that is to be convinced (and convincing about) the superiority of that status.