Making a Love Connection: Loneliness and Communication Competence In the Dating Marketplace

Robert A Bell, Michael E. Roloff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The relationship of loneliness to individuals’ competence at marketing themselves to potential romantic partners is examined. Subjects completed two hypothetical date-initiation tasks and a measure of loneliness. In one task, they described how they would advertise their availability to potential romantic partners. Content analyses of these advertising actions revealed that loneliness was inversely related to familiarity with situations where partners might be met, to the ability to manipulate situations to create “accidental” encounters, and to the use of third parties in obtaining dates. Loneliness was positively related to efforts at assessing another’s availability before pursuing romance. In the second task, subjects pretended that they had enrolled in a video-dating service and wrote scripts for their presentation. Loneliness was associated with revealing demographic information while withholding personality information, self-deprecation (females only), selectivity in dating, ratings by both self and judges of script ineffectiveness, and offering justifications for participating in the service. These results are discussed within the framework of a social skills perspective on loneliness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)58-74
Number of pages17
JournalCommunication Quarterly
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1991


  • Communication competence
  • courtship
  • dating
  • loneliness
  • mate-seeking
  • self-disclosure
  • social skills

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication


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