Ain’t good at dating? Don’t worry, our furry, feathery and scaly friends have got you covered .

1Be picky

Peacocks are really picky when it comes to choosing partners.

Periodically, well-meaning friends suggest that those who are still single should lower their standards and stop being so choosy. Yet most other species would squawk, growl and tweet in disagreement. Peahens, for instance, are very particular about what they look for in a peacock. Recent research found that peahens have a fondness for males with over 150 eyespots and evaluate an average of three males before making a decision. Being selective is possibly one of the most important pieces of guidance we can take from animals, even if that means it takes a while to find your best match.

2Communicate clearly

Sure, peacocks are pretty, but black-bullied wrens trounce them in singing contest.

Courtship, dating, and relationship all require communication know-how. Miscommunication often comes down to individuals not listening to one another. Animals try hard to avoid miscommunication, and black-bellied wrens are no exception. Research from the University of Lethbridge illustrates that by listening and paying attention, black-bellied wrens are able to stay in sync with their partner, anticipating exactly when to start singing so there is no overlap and no gap. If a conversation isn’t going well, they take a break and try again later.

3 Don’t talk rubbish!

Make fake promises, Mr Cockerel, and you will be left with an egg on your face.

Actions speak louder than words. No one knows this better than hens. Dr. Peter Marler, the late neurobiologist and animal communication researcher, showed that some cockerels will give out food calls even when there is no grub to be had. As hens are always on the lookout for good sources of food, they come to check out what he claims to have. Should they arrive at the scene and discover that the cockerel can’t offer what he said he could, they do not hesitate and move swiftly on. The bottom line? Talk is cheap – for cockerels as well as humans.

4Assess interests

Little known fact: siamangs are the world’s largest consumers of Strepsils

Dating and courtship take effort, energy, and resources. We know that many species engage. A study led by Dr. Mariano Trillo found that not only does the Paratrechelea ornata spider male offer delicacies to females, but they also wrap them in an elaborated silk gift basket. The amount of energy an individual puts into courting and responding towards a potential mate is usually correlated with the degree of interest. Even seasoned romantic relationships require continued and equal investment by both parties.

5Set boundaries

Despite their diet, bats don’t have a bloodsucking nature.

Having limits on what we will accept isn’t just important for people – it matters to animals, too. Sometimes, in those early stages of dating, we’re more relaxed about our boundaries and will allow a potential partner to cross the line. Indeed, many of us resist the process of setting boundaries because we don’t want to be rejected, to offend, or be seen as ‘selfish’. Animals, however, have no such qualms. They establish boundaries quickly, they often say ‘no’ and don’t appear to feel the least bit bad about it.

Vampire bats have cooperative natures, but researcher by Gerald Carter at the University of Maryland reveals that they are experts in how to give without becoming a doormat. They willingly share food with other group members, as long as those who receive give back in kind, regardless of the relationship status. However, they are not keen on other bats taking advantage and will stop when their generosity is exploited. Knowing how, and when, to say “no” is vital in every relationship.

6Know what you want

Do French angelfish bicker over the washing-up?

Clarity of intention is another must. That means knowing where you are coming from and what you are looking for in the dating game. Are you in for a minute? A season? A lifetime? Whether you are an animal or a human, there are all sorts of different relationships out there.

Baboons have friends with benefits. Tuataras (a type of reptile from New Zealand) may switch partner every year. And French angelfish spend their entire lives with a single mate.

What you want out of any dating experience may change depending on where you are in your life plan, your personality, who’s sitting across the table from you, or even your genetics.

What animals tech us is that you can behave promiscuously like a squirrel, or you can act like a loyal French angelfish. It’s not a moral judgement, it’s about what works with you at the time – but you shouldn’t pretend to be something you are not

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