If you’re married, do you sometimes pity your single friends? And if you’re single, do you think all married people live boring lives?

According to new research in the journal Psychological Science, there’s a reason for that kind of thinking. It’s because most of us believe our own life status is best for everyone – and we tend to judge others who don’t share the same experiences we do! For example: In one study, over 100 students were asked to think about a typical night for an imaginary person. 

When the imaginary person was described by researchers as single, then students who were also single were more likely to say that person had a good night, while students who were in a relationship were more likely to say the imaginary singleton had a miserable night! 

And that mentality follows us everywhere, by the way – including at work.

Because studies show that hiring managers who are single are more likely to hire applicants who are also single, and managers who are married are more likely to be drawn to applicants who are also married.

So, what’s going on? Kristin Laurin is a psychologist from Stanford University. She says it boils down to the fact that many of us idealize our own life status as a way of feeling content with our choices. Basically, we all want to believe we’re making the right choices.