Humans are social creatures. No matter if you're an introvert or extravert, spending time with someone you love or care about has a positive influence on your happiness.
There are plenty of studies that back this up. Spend time with positive people and you'll become more positive yourself as well. In that sense, happiness can spread quickly if you are more aware of how positive relationships can be nurtured.
This is a powerful part of our happiness that readers and followers of Tracking Happiness experience every day.
We’ve published numerous articles about social happiness, and how you can nurture the best relationships in your life. This page contains the best bits of those articles, with links to every other article we’ve published on social happiness.
- Most recent articles about "Social Happiness"
- How your social life is connected to your happiness
- Best tips on living a socially happy life
- All articles about “Social Happiness”
- Closing words
Most recent articles about "Social Happiness"
Here are the most recently added articles about happy relationships and social happiness:
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Over the years, we've heard many different stories from our readers who have spoken about their social happiness. From these stories, it's clear that our social life determines a lot of our happiness.
It doesn't matter if it's our family, colleagues, partners or friends: the people who you surround yourself with have the power to shape your happiness.
There's plenty of research that backs this up.
Melıkşah Demır is a Turkish psychologist now working at the Northern Arizona University, who has written the book on friendship and happiness – literally. Thanks to his research, we know quite a lot about the relationship between the two.
For example, friendships increase happiness even in introverted people, who may often prefer their own company, as reported by Demır and Lesley A. Weitekamp. In their 2007 study, they found that friendship variables accounted for 58% of the variance in people’s happiness. Their results also revealed that friendship quality predicted happiness, even when the influence of personality characteristics (for example, introversion or extraversion) was taken into account.
And friendship quality really seems to be the key here.
Another study by the same authors investigated the role of best friendship and close friendship quality and conflict in happiness. The results showed that best friendship quality was the only statistically significant predictor of happiness, but the participants seemed to be happier when they experienced the high quality first close friendships together with a high quality best friendship. The quality of close friendships also seemed to offer protection against the negative impact of conflicts in (other) close relationships.
As stated in the intro, the stories we hear from our readers prove to us that our social life determines a lot of our happiness.
For example, here's what one of our readers told us recently about how much her mother makes her happy:
I always start my day with a little gratitude as soon as my feet hit the floor. But lately, I have been very grateful for my mom who is constantly reminding me to drink my fresh ginger tea to keep me healthy during these crazy and stressful times.
Despite a 7-hour time difference, she makes it a point of calling every day. It makes me realize how lucky I am.
Here is another example from one of our members:
Just today, in my group of friends from college, one was having a family issue that she was hesitant to share with the rest of us. Though we didn’t pressure her to open up, someone in the group reminded us that “a problem shared is already 50% solved.”
Because of the sense of safety that we’ve cultivated in our group, our friend was finally able to lay her burdens down and allow us to be there for her. After exchanging words of encouragement, our friend’s mood became palpably lighter and she switched back to her perky self again, letting us in on her latest K-pop obsession like any normal day.
It's clear that living a socially happy life is a big predictor of living a more rich and happy life in general.
But how can you nurture - or even find - these positive relationships?
Based on the feedback and stories of our readers, we’ve compiled the most actionable tips that can help you find and nurture a socially happy life.
Be a source of positive energy yourself
Do you have a friend or family member, who you don't really hang out with often because of a negative vibe? It makes sense, because being arround someone who's negative can have an effect on your own positivity.
It may sound obvious, but the first tip for nurturing a socially happy life is to actually be a source of positive energy yourself!
Don't be a negative person that people are hesitant to meet up with. Whenever you meet someone, don't allow yourself to be negative by default.
A quote I always try to remember that helps with keeping an open mindset and being positive towards others:
Just because you don’t understand it doesn’t mean it isn’t so.
Know what it means to be a good friend
Friends and friendship are difficult to define. Just think about your own friends – what makes someone your friend? Chances are that you don’t have a single, concise answer to that questoin.
Since friendship is difficult to define, so is a good friend. To an extent, it’s completely fair to say that the definition of a good friend is different to everyone and leave it at that.
However, there are some things that people seem to value more than others when it comes to friendships. For example, here are a couple:
- Honesty with others.
- Being very dependable.
- Being non-judgemental (remember the previous tip about keeping an open mindset?)
- Being a good listener.
There's a lot more to being a good friend. Luckily, we've written an article specifically about this topic:
Surround yourself with happy people
In a world filled with negativity, it is obviously quite common for someone to be surrounded by negativity. In fact, spending time with negative people who continually see the bad in every situation is the quickest way to become a negative pessimist too.
There’s this old saying:
“You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.”
This implies that if you hang out with pessimists, it’s likely you’ll slowly turn into one yourself.
It luckily works the other way around too. Surround yourself with positivity, and you'll slowly embrace that mindset yourself as well!
Our actionable advice to you?
- Spend time with people you love in a setting that you enjoy. From my personal experience, spending time with people I love has a huge influence on my happiness. Whether I'm with my girlfriend, family or close friends, I almost always notice that I'm happier after spending time with these people.
- Don't meet up with your friends in a setting that you don't like. If a quiet night playing board games together sounds more fun to you than a night club, make sure you voice your opinion. Don't associate and mix up good things (your relationships with the people you love) with potentially bad things (like spending time at a club).
- Unfriend people who add nothing but negativity to your life. Pay attention to only the people who mean something to you and have a positive influence on your happiness. If you're currently not happy, you have to distance yourself from people who don't add something to your life. You can decide who you spend time with, so choose the people who will actually add positivity to your life!
One final tip, don't become a people-pleaser. If you spend time with others only out of a feeling of guilt, remorse pity, then you'll limit both yourself and the other person long-term.
Put on your own oxygen mask before assisting others.
If you’ve been on a plane, you will have heard this, and I want you to know that the same logic applies in other situations as well. You can’t take care of others if you don’t take care of yourself, yet some people often find themselves bending over backwards for others when they should listen to the wisdom of flight attendants.
Spend more time with your close friends
As Chris McCandless - from Into the Wild - said prior to passing away:
Happiness is only real when shared.
I personally consider myself to be an introvert, meaning that spending time with others may actually cost me energy. You can lock me in a room for a full day and I might actually want to stay there longer. What I'm trying to say is that I don't mind being alone every once in a while.
That said, spending time with people I love has a huge influence on my happiness. Whether I'm with my girlfriend, family or close friends, I always notice that I'm happier after spending time with these people.
Based on studies, it's clear that the quality of your friendships matters most. If you can count the number of friends on one hand, then that's no reason to worry.
An interesting study investigated the role of best friendship and close friendship quality and conflict in happiness. The results showed that best friendship quality was the only statistically significant predictor of happiness, but the participants seemed to be happier when they experienced the high quality first close friendships together with a high quality best friendship. The quality of close friendships also seemed to offer protection against the negative impact of conflicts in (other) close relationships.
Don't forget about your family
Do you sometimes feel like you don't get to spend enough time with your family?
How can we keep up our relationships with so many people while maintaining our busy lives? Maybe it's just me, but I find it really difficult to make time for my family, without sacrificing sleep, work, relaxation, hobbies, exercising and friends.
However, if you're anything like me, then you'll also really enjoy the time spent with your family. Why? Because these people have a special place in your heart. You've grown up with these people and therefore feel a connection with them.
The truth is, I love spending time with my family, mainly my parents, brother, and sister.
- Like that time my brother, sister and I ran a marathon together.
- Or the many dinners at my parents home with the family.
- Or when my father takes me and my brother to Austria for a couple of days of hiking in the mountains.
- But also the birthdays of my grandparents.
- Or the chaotic Christmas dinners with the entire family.
I'm not even a parent yet. I've read countless of stories from our readers about how their children have transformed their lives. So I can only imagine how much having children can influence your social happiness.
The point is, if you are in good contact with your family, then spending time with these people will undoubtedly have a positive influence on your happiness! We are all living busy lives, sure, but it's important to spend a part of our limited time with the people that are most important to us.
Smile to a stranger
It's the small stuff in life that can sometimes make you the happiest.
I remember this one time, when I went running, a total stranger complimented me on my stride and technique. I found this odd since I've never had any training and I sometimes feel quite clunky. However, this random comment made me very happy.
Comments like these can be more impactful than you might think. A simple smile or compliment to a stranger can go a really long way.
On your pathway to happiness, you will probably encounter a lot of people that are dealing with similar issues like you. I want you to consider the possibility of being a source of happiness for these people. Yes, even though you might not feel happy right now, that doesn't mean that you can't be a source of happiness for somebody else!
You see, humans tend to move in groups. We tend to unknowingly copy the behavior of others, and as some of you might know: emotions can be contagious!
Your smile has the power to bring a smile to someone else's face! How can you put this to practice?
- Smile at a stranger.
- Try to laugh when you're around others (not in an awkward way!). Laughter is one of the best remedies for sadness.
- Do something nice for somebody else, a random act of kindness.
- Open the door for someone with a smile.
- Volunteer in your community and spread happiness that way!
- Make a compliment to somebody else and notice how it affects their happiness (like that stranger that complimented my running form!)
All articles about “Social Happiness”
Here at Tracking Happiness, we are extremely fascinated about happiness and nurturing a socially happy life. We are always on the lookout to answer questions such as:
- How much do friends, family and colleagues influence your happiness?
- Can you be just as socially happy as an introvert?
- How can you be a good friend when you're going through hard times yourself?
Whenever we learn something new about journaling, we usually write an article about it.
Here’s a full list of articles we’ve written about “Social Happiness”:
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Are you inspired to be a source of happiness for your friends and family? I hope so, because that's the main takeaway that this page should leave you with.
Social happiness is one of the key topics here at Tracking Happiness. This article is updated whenever we publish a new and interesting piece of content, so make sure to check back every once in a while.
Now it’s time to hear from you! How much is your happiness influenced by your social life? Did we miss an interesting study about friendships, family and happiness? Please share it in the comments below!