Surveys can be so helpful. If it weren't for separate surveys done by the German research institute Innofact AG and Yahoo! Personals, we wouldn't know that the time of year that most relationships break up has just ended.
According to them, more people will find themselves dumping or dumped between New Year's and Valentine's Day than any other time of the year.
Think about that cutie you met last year but couldn't approach due to the significant other scowling in the background. It's time to stop by their work, accidentally/on-purpose call their number or send them a particularly leading Internet joke by e-mail and casually find out if the relationship survived January.
On-line shopping...for a mate
According to the European study, 81 percent of respondents said they intended to look for someone in January. Of the Yahoo! Personals respondents, 39 percent said they would check their options on-line before actually saying "Adios!"
Thus, we move on-line shopping to a new level.
Sometimes survey results only confirm our deepest fears. In a survey done by Engage.com, 24 percent of respondents believe it is all right to lie when dating on-line, and of those fibbers, 12 percent find it acceptable to lie about their desire for a relationship.
Maybe calling surveys helpful is a stretch. Perhaps surveys are best when used simply as entertainment. No other reason exists to know that 98 percent of singles nationwide, in a survey done by dating company It's Just Lunch, said they'd date someone on the other end of the political spectrum.
The most important rule of survey use remains, don't trust 'em. Survey numbers never guarantee an outcome. More importantly, the results are subject to wide interpretation.
In mid-January, the New York Times released the results from a study of 2005 Census data. The data revealed 51 percent of American women said they live without a spouse.
One interpretation of this statistic led to yet another battle cry in the war between the sexes. After all, if women aren't marrying, the logic went, it must be that they don't want to or are just too picky about picking a mate.
The New York Times report didn't help truce talks. It surrounded its data with interviews of women in several different U.S. cities, age ranges and professions, who disavowed any interest in marrying, either once or ever again.
Stand down, people. The report data doesn't prove that women are the ones deciding not to marry. In2005, married couples became the minority of American households, but some of the 51 percent were women with spouses in the military, working away from home or institutionalized.
Of the remaining, the data only confirms that there are more available single women out there than ever before and thereby more opportunities for single men.
It is time we came together. After all, another study, published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, proved that married people live longer.
Or maybe it just feels that way, goes the old joke, since this particular fact has been discovered in numerous studies done since the 1950s.
As someone who stumbles through life to the beat of a different drummer , I've never lived my life by survey.
And before anyone dedicates themselves to a solitary monastic existence, I suggest they pick and choose which surveys to live by.
According to a recent Australian survey on money and relationships, 94 percent of respondents value love over money. As surveys go, that one actually is helpful.
Sofia lives in North Seattle and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.