Reddit predicts if your relationship is doomed to fail

Reddit offers an intimate level of insight into the future of some relationships, particularly the ones that are doomed, according to a new study. How? Language analysis. 

Can Reddit predict if your relationship is doomed to fail? It’s a question researchers believe they can answer with quite a bit of precision.

A study conducted by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences analysed the language of

1,027,541 posts from 6,803 Reddit users who had posted about their breakups in the r/BreakUps thread.

At the time of a Redditor’s breakup post, there was a spike in the use of self-focused words and pronouns, like “I” and “me”, indicating the person has already begun disengaging from the partnership.

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There was a also decrease in analytical thinking, i.e. more personal and informal language.

But looking at the same user’s posts in other areas of Reddit, these same language patterns emerged months before the breakup, even when they weren’t talking about their relationship itself.

“The effects of the breakup are translating into other areas of their life, even when they’re not directly talking about it,” lead study author Sarah Seraj, a doctoral student at the University of Texas at Austin told CNN.

Incredibly, these language markers can “detect impending relationship breakups up to three months before they occur, with continued psychological” effects lasting up to six months after.

The study also found that those who post about their breakups for longer periods of time were “less well-adjusted a year after the breakup compared to short-term posters”.