Friendships are indispensable for our well-being. They give meaning to our lives. These are the vital bonds we risk neglecting so often in our crazy busy lives today.
Here goes perhaps the most vital finding of our times: The happiness of your friends affects you in impressive and remarkable ways. Happiness is indeed contagious among friends as if it were a network phenomenon.
4 Truths About Friendships?
- 1. We are not born with our friends; we choose them.
- 2. We can’t create fake friendships since others will see right through them.
- 3. Friendships need enough time and dedication to grow into lifelong bonds.
- 4. Happiness is contagious among friends; our joy touches them while their delight touches us.
20 Things Best Friends Do For Mutual Happiness
Happy friends make a happy us.
We now bring you this list of 20 things best friends do to be happy together, backed by scientific research.
1. My friend and I fight sometimes.
2. We make up easily after our fights.
3. We disagree on things sometimes.
4. We get over our arguments very quickly.
5. We talk about resolving differences between us.
6. We make each other feel special and important.
7. My friend gives me confidence in my abilities.
8. My friend frequently offers me constructive advice.
9. We often help each other with each other’s work.
10. We try to solve each other’s problems outside work.
11. We frequently meet up for social activities.
12. We often meet up for non-social, non-group activities.
13. We always tell each other our problems and struggles.
14. We very often discuss our personal and emotional issues.
15. I talk to my friend when I am angry about something.
16. My friend helps me with activities when we hang out.
17. My friend makes me feel good about my ideas.
18. We always try to team up to do things together.
19. My friend likes me more than anyone else in our social group.
20. I like my friend more than I like others in my peer group.
Happiness Is Contagious: Facts
Happiness is contagious among friends according to research. Knowing someone who is happy makes us 15.3% more likely to be happy ourselves. A happy friend of a friend increases our odds of happiness by 9.8%. A happy friend who lives within a half-mile (0.8 km) makes us 42% more likely to be happy ourselves. We are 45% more likely to be happy if a friend of ours became happy in the past six months.
In December 2008, a study published in the British Medical Journal carried out by Harvard University researchers James Fowler and Nicholas Christakis, unearthed some surprising data about friendships.
For the study, they constructed a social network that included 12,067 study volunteers who linked to each other through 53,228 connections. They concluded our happiness depends on the happiness of our connections.
Their dataset revealed the following facts:
▪ You are 15.3 percent more likely to feel happy if you know someone who is happy.
▪ When a friend of yours has a happy friend, it increases your own chances of happiness by 9.8%.
▪ If a friend of yours has become happy in the past 6 months, you are 45% more likely to be happy.
▪ Happy people who live in geographic proximity were most effective in spreading their good cheer. A happy friend who lives within a half-mile (0.8 km) increases your likelihood of happiness by 42%. 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.
▪ Happiness casts ripples through your social network. The spread of happiness reaches up to 3 degrees of separation, just like the spread of obesity and smoking behavior.
Friends Make Us Happier: Facts
Happiness is a fundamental object of human existence, so much so that nations all over the world are more and more emphasizing happiness as a component of health. Poverty, stress, and unhappiness are often regarded as the root causes of modern social problems ranging from divorce to homelessness, and even obesity.
But researchers suggest we are overlooking something crucial: friendships. It appears that our society is ignoring the importance of good friends. But why do friends matter?
▪ Friends help us live longer and happier lives. People with strong social ties are 50% less likely to die early. Research shows it is as good as quitting smoking. And even better than getting regular exercise and staying at a healthy weight.
▪ “A lack of social relationships was equivalent to smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day,” said the lead researcher and psychologist Julianne Holt-Lunstad.
▪ Regular contact with ten or more friends significantly increases our happiness. People with fewer friends report lower levels of happiness.
▪ College friends who reported having strong friendships were half as likely to catch a common cold when exposed to the virus as against their peers with fewer friends.
▪ A study showed having a friend by your side can actually make a hill look less steep.
▪ This study found a best friend’s presence protected us against the effects of negative experiences.
Researchers Adams, Santo, and Bukowski saw that when a best friend was not around, there was a significant increase in salivary cortisol (a stress hormone) and a significant fall in self-worth as the negativity of the experience increased.
But, when a best friend was present, the participants had less change in cortisol and global self-worth with increasing negativity of the event.
▪ 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 disowned or unloved.
The philosopher and polymath Aristotle said about friends 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.
The far-thinking Greek philosopher Epicurus said of friendships:
Of all the means to insure happiness throughout the whole life, by far the most important is the acquisition of friends.
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Author Bio: Written and reviewed by Sandip Roy—a medical doctor, psychology writer, and happiness researcher. Founder and Chief Editor of The Happiness Blog. Writes popular science articles on happiness, positive psychology, and related topics.
• Our story: Happiness Project
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