Happy friends make a happy us.
Happiness is contagious among friends. Our happiness touches them. Their happiness touches us.
The philosopher Aristotle said some 2300 years ago,
In poverty and other misfortunes of life, true friends are a sure refuge. They keep the young out of mischief; they comfort and aid the old in their weakness, and they incite those in the prime of life to noble deeds.
Friendships are indispensable for our wellbeing, but the problem is we are not born with them.
You can’t create a friendship artificially; people will see through it. You have to give them the time to develop. So, oftentimes in our crazy busy lives of today, one of our most vital bonds — friendships — are at risk of being neglected.
We bring you this list of 20 things best friends do to be happy together, backed by scientific research.
Happy Among Friends
Happiness is a fundamental object of human existence, so much so that the nations all over the world are more and more emphasizing happiness as a component of health. The causes of modern social problems, from divorce to homelessness and obesity, are often thought to be based in areas such as poverty, stress or unhappiness.
But researchers suggest we are overlooking something crucial: Friendships. It appears that our society is ignoring the importance of happy friends.
Tom Rath, the Gallup Organization’s director, believes that we are all aware of the value of friendship especially during difficult times. In his book, Vital Friends, Rath makes the point that if you ask people why they became homeless, why their marriage failed or why they overeat, they often say it is because of the poor quality, or nonexistence, of friendships. They feel outcast or unloved.
Happiness Is Contagious
In Dec 2008, a study published in the British Medical Journal, carried out by Harvard University researchers James Fowler and Nicholas Christakis found:
- Knowing someone who is happy makes you 15.3% more likely to be happy yourself.
- A happy friend of a friend increases your odds of happiness by 9.8%.
- A happy friend who lives within a half-mile (0.8 km) makes you 42% more likely to be happy yourself.
- You are 45% more likely to be happy if a friend of yours became happy in the past six months.
- Happy people in geographic proximity were most effective in spreading their good cheer. If that same friend lives two miles away, his impact drops to 22%. Happy friends who are more distant have no discernible impact, according to the study.
- The happiest people were at the center of large social networks.
- The spread of happiness reaches up to 3 degrees of separation, just like the spread of obesity and smoking behaviour.
We make each other feel special and important! We always tell each other our problems! My friend and I fight sometimes! We get over our arguments very quickly! I like my friend more than others in my peer group! Click To Tweet
For the study, they had constructed a social network that included 12,067 study volunteers who were linked to each other through a massive 53,228 ties. They concluded that your happiness depends on the happiness of your connections.
So, here goes perhaps the most important finding of our times. That happiness of your friends affect you in an impressive and remarkable way. Happiness is indeed contagious among friends. As if a network phenomenon, happiness casts ripples through your social network.
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Author Bio: Sandip Roy is psychology writer, happiness researcher, and medical doctor. Founder of Happiness India Project, and chief editor of its blog. He writes popular-science articles on positive psychology and related topics.
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