Happiness is indeed contagious.
You catch your friends’ happiness. To be happy, be friends with someone who’s happy.
Here’s possibly the most crucial finding of our time: Happiness of your friends has a great effect on you.
Knowing a happy person increases your chances of happiness by 15%. And if a friend of your friend is happy, it boosts your chances of happiness by 10%, so say researchers Fowler and Christakis.
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.
Happy friends make a happy us.
Table of Contents
What Do Friends Do Together: 20 Things They Do For Happiness
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.
“My friend and I make each other feel special and important. We always tell each other our problems. We fight sometimes but get over our arguments quickly. I like my friend more than others in my peer group.”
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.
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.
- A happy friend of a friend increases our odds of happiness by 9.8%.
- A happy friend living within a half-mile (0.8 km) makes us 42% more likely to be happy.
- We are 45% more likely to be happy if a friend of ours became happy in the past 6 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.
Their dataset revealed the fact that the happiest people were at the center of large social networks. They concluded our happiness depends on the happiness of our connections.
Fowler and Christakis also found that the best way to transmit happiness among friends was to live in the same neighborhood.
- Living within a half-mile (0.8 km) of a happy friend improves your likelihood of happiness by 42%.
- The same friend can only have a 22% effect on your happiness if they live two miles away.
- Happy friends who live farther than 2 miles have no noticeable effect on your happiness.
Happiness also casts ripples across your social networks. Happiness can be contagious up to 3 degrees of separation, like obesity and smoking. It means that if a friend of your friend is generally happy, then you too will be.
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 is equivalent to smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day.”Julianne Holt-Lunstad, Psychologist Researcher
▪ 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 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: Researched and reviewed by Dr. Sandip Roy. His expertise is in mental well-being, positive psychology, narcissism, and Stoic philosophy.
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