Food for thought for those who are dithering about immigrating.

Kiwis regret hesitation
NZPA | Wednesday, 24 October 2007

Regrets, every one has a few, but the ones that haunt New Zealanders most are the things they did not do.

Not taking action causes New Zealanders more regret than anything else, according to research by Andy Towers for a doctorate degree at the School of Psychology at Massey University.

He found that men have different regrets to woman and regrets change as we age.

"People regret the things they didn't do, that is the inaction ? both in the short and the long-term," he said.

Men are more likely to regret financial and occupational decisions. Women's regrets are more varied, spanning occupation, family, parenting and health decisions.

Lack of education was one of the biggest regrets expressed by older people.

"Time and time again the thing that came up is `if I had stayed at school I could have had a better job and my life would be different', or `I would not have had this manual job that has wrecked me'."

Middle age is a time for reflection on relationships, according to the survey. People in their 40s are most likely to have regrets about intimate relationships.

"They perhaps have a job, or a career but want to build other connections," Mr Towers said.

"I had a number of people tell me `I wish I hadn't married this person I am married to' or `I wish I had asked that person to marry me'."

Younger people regret things related to themselves, including their behaviour. They wish they stood up for themselves more.

New Zealanders had similar regrets in the long-term as expressed in studies offshore but have fewer short-term regrets than had been revealed in overseas studies.

Mr Towers believes people regret things less when they can point to a reason why they acted the way they did, or a moral justification for their behaviour.

But being able to justify a regret does not protect a person from having that regret.

"A number of people that had a strong theoretical justification for their behaviour still felt a lot of regret because, irrespective of the level of justification, they felt their behaviour still did not `fit' with the person they thought they were."

Mr Towers surveyed a random sample of 3000 people from the electoral roll, and received 650 responses.

From here .