Social Happiness - Be Around People Who Make You Happy

I consider myself to be an introvert.

There's only a finite amount of energy that I can get from socially interacting with others. Extraverts generally tend to extract much more energy from being social when compared to me.

But I am still the happiest on days that I spend with friends, family and my girlfriend. It's why I usually see an increase in happiness during the Christmas period. My birthday is also a great example of this. Being around others generally has a positive influence on our happiness. The truth is, good relationships are a great way to be happier.

That's why developing good relationships is an important section in the Learn How To Be Happy blog. This section focuses on good relationships and how they can help you to become happier.

Chapter 3 develop happy relationships TOC

Latest articles

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How To Be a Good Friend (And Be Happy As A Result!)
January 29, 2020

Do you think you’re the best friend you can be? Often, the recipe for being a good friend isn’t as clear as we’d like. In this article, I’ll take a closer look at the science of friendship and how to be the best friend you can be.

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How Much Do Friends Make You Happier? (As Per Science)
September 30, 2019

How much do friends make you happier? This article delves into the many studies about friends vs. happiness. It’s clear that friendships have the capability to make you happier – but how and by how much? Here are your answers.

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How To Rekindle A Friendship (And Become Happier In The Process)
August 14, 2019

Humans are social beings, and friendships are a critical part of our happiness. Although the relationships in our life may seem constant, our social circles are always changing and evolving. In this article, I’ll look at the importance of friendships and why they sometimes fall apart, and introduce you to some tips on how to rekindle a friendship.

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.”

I couldn’t agree more. 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!

My 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.
  • If you're anything like me, you don't want to meet up with your friends in a club (I absolutely hate clubs). If a quiet night playing board games together sounds more fun to you, make sure you meet up with others under these conditions. 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!
friends make you happier featured image
How Much Do Friends Make You Happier? (As Per Science)

How much do friends make you happier? This article delves into the many studies about friends vs. happiness. It’s clear that friendships have the capability to make you happier – but how and by how much? Here are your answers.

how to rekindle a friendship featured image
How To Rekindle A Friendship (And Become Happier In The Process)

Humans are social beings, and friendships are a critical part of our happiness. Although the relationships in our life may seem constant, our social circles are always changing and evolving. In this article, I’ll look at the importance of friendships and why they sometimes fall apart, and introduce you to some tips on how to rekindle a friendship.

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.

While the exact influence of spending time with others varies per person and per day, it is commonly known that you need some form of social interaction once in a while to be happy.

I 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 almost always notice that I'm happier after spending time with these people.

The truth is, you have to get out there and be amongst others if you want to find sustainable happiness. Even if you don't feel like being around others, you should really try to meet up. You'll likely find out that you enjoyed it afterward.

However, it's important to spend time with these people in a setting that you enjoy. If you're anything like me, you don't want to meet up with your friends in a club (I absolutely hate clubs). If a quiet night playing board games together sounds more fun to you, make sure you meet up with others under these conditions. 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).

Find that special person

Do you believe in a soulmate? That one person who will make you the happiest person in the world?

I don't. But still, my relationship with my girlfriend is probably the best thing I have in my life. We started dating back in February 2013, and are currently going strong for more than years. We've also moved into an apartment together right at the start of 2018. My relationship is as solid as it's ever been. We've endured much more challenging times during our 6 years together, notably caused by all the long-distance periods that we've survived.

The thing is, spending time with the person I love is an almost sure-fire way for me to be happy. We don't always agree with each other, and can sometimes really get on the other's nerve, but I consider that to be normal in any kind of relationship. We love each other, and at the end of the day, that allows us to easily forget about these small annoyances.

All in all, I can easily say that my girlfriend is the biggest source of my happiness these days! I feel lucky to have my girlfriend in my life. 🙂

(I'm not just saying all these things because my girlfriend might be reading this and will get pissed if I don't. I promise! Heeeeeeelp meeeee)

Don't forget about your family

If you're anything like me, then you'll often think that you're not spending enough time on family. How can we keep up with so many people while maintaining our busy lives? I find it extremely 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.

Hell, I'm not even a parent yet. So you can only imagine how much more important my family will become once my girlfriend and I try to expand our small family. Funnily enough, I found out I'm going to be an uncle in 7 months (at the end of 2019)! I'm at an age now where the family will likely become even more important, so it's going to be very interesting to see this develop!

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. When I went running this week, 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!

If your partner or close friend is sad or angry then there is a possibility that you will feel that emotion as well.

The same works for happiness.

Your happiness can actually radiate to other people. Your smile has the power to bring a smile to someone else's face! How can you put this to practice?

  • Smile to 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.
  • Make a compliment to somebody else and notice how it affects their happiness (like that stranger that complimented my running form!)
  • Etc

Why would you want to focus on the happiness of others while you're the one who's struggling to be happy?

It's easy: spreading happiness will make you happy as well. Teach by doing, and you'll learn something for yourself as well.

Happiness is truly a subjective feeling that has a lot of myths, biases and different strong opinions. People say it can't be measured, it's a waste of time to pursue it and that happiness is not really measurable at all. I've further detailed my definition of happiness in a separate essay.

Despite all this, there is one interesting aspect of happiness that most people agree on, and that's:

When you are trying to make others happier, you will paradoxically find happiness yourself.

how to spread happiness featured
Here’s How To Spread Happiness (And Why You Should Try)

Studies have shown that happiness can be spread from one person to another. Smiling at strangers, helping somebody in need, or preparing a hot meal are great ways to spread happiness, but they’re just the tip of the iceberg. Here’s everything you should know in order to spread happiness to others.

If you're just not that social, there are still plenty of ways to be happy

Can you be happy without a relationship or friends?

The simple answer is yes.

It's true that friends, social relationships or a partner are a really good way to add happiness to your life. But it's not a guarantee. If you're missing the basic fundamentals of happiness, like self-esteem, confidence, and independence, then having friends won't magically solve your problems.

It's important to understand that your relationships with others do not determine who you are from the inside. Instead, it's your personality, confidence, and purpose in life that determines who you are.

Other people do not influence who you are.

I consider myself to be a happy person (more on that later). I have a small number of hobbies that really make me happy. At the moment, these things are:

  • Running long-distances
  • Playing guitar (and occasionally singing, although I don't brag about my singing voice which is probably for the better)
  • Going on long walks when the weather is nice
  • Skateboarding (I picked this hobby up very recently)
  • Playing videogames (currently Battlefield 5)
  • Watching series (I'm currently rewatching The Office)

Notice how these are all things I can do perfectly on my own.

can you be happy without a relationship or friends featured
Can You Be Happy Without A Relationship Or Friends?

If you are currently unhappy, then having friends or a relationship will not fix your unhappiness. That’s what I set out to find in this article. Yes, you can be happy alone. Having friends or a relationship will not magically fix your fundamental issues. Here’s why.

what makes introverts happy featured image
What Makes Introverts Happy (How To, Tips & Examples)

A common misconception about introverts is that we’re shy and don’t want to be around others. I’ve contacted 8 others and asked them a very simple question: “what makes you happy?”. These are real-life examples of what makes introverts happy.

You can be happier. Discover how with my free template!

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  • Learn more about what makes you happy
  • Receive my custom template for free

All articles

how to be a good friend featured
How To Be a Good Friend (And Be Happy As A Result!)
January 29, 2020

Do you think you’re the best friend you can be? Often, the recipe for being a good friend isn’t as clear as we’d like. In this article, I’ll take a closer look at the science of friendship and how to be the best friend you can be.

friends make you happier featured image
How Much Do Friends Make You Happier? (As Per Science)
September 30, 2019

How much do friends make you happier? This article delves into the many studies about friends vs. happiness. It’s clear that friendships have the capability to make you happier – but how and by how much? Here are your answers.

how to rekindle a friendship featured image
How To Rekindle A Friendship (And Become Happier In The Process)
August 14, 2019

Humans are social beings, and friendships are a critical part of our happiness. Although the relationships in our life may seem constant, our social circles are always changing and evolving. In this article, I’ll look at the importance of friendships and why they sometimes fall apart, and introduce you to some tips on how to rekindle a friendship.

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If you’re a people-pleaser and never stand up for yourself or say no, expressing your true opinions can be scary. However, in order to grow and learn, you’ve got to get out of the comfort zone. In this article, we will take a closer look at what people-pleasing is and I’ll show you 7 cures to help you stop overextending yourself to help others.

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Forgiveness is good for your mental health because it’s all about being kind towards yourself. You probably try to minimize other stressors in your life, so why would you hang onto something as stressful as unforgiveness? Unfortunately, forgiveness isn’t always easy to achieve, but with a little work, time and some help from the methods outlined in this article, you can learn to let go of the anger and move on to happier things.

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Can You Be Happy Without A Relationship Or Friends?
May 14, 2019

If you are currently unhappy, then having friends or a relationship will not fix your unhappiness. That’s what I set out to find in this article. Yes, you can be happy alone. Having friends or a relationship will not magically fix your fundamental issues. Here’s why.