Happiness is…6 tips for making the most of friendships and time alone

Happiness is…6 tips for making the most of friendships and time alone

Two separate and unconnencted situations led me to think about writing this short post:

  1. a rather unpleasant interpersonal interaction about which I wrote yesterday (you can see the blog HERE)
  2. and a question I was asked by a journalist regarding how to find happiness at Xmas time if you’re alone or don’t have good relationships with family

To cut a long story short, it made me think about the all too common but worth being reminded of fact of life that…

…no one will be loved by everyone all the time!

Clearly this does not have to be a bad thing; we can still be happy despite some people not liking us; we can still have happiness despite being on our own or only having a few close friendships. In fact, on this latter, point, many people overestimate the number of friendships they need and, therefore, undervalue the relationships they have.

Research suggests that we really only need a handful of good friendships (2 or 3, maybe 4 or 5) to gain the benefits of social connectedness such as happiness and health and wellbeing. This is not to say having more relationships is a bad thing but clearly quality is just as, if not more important than quantity.

Anyway, the point of this article is to highlight a core principle of positive psyhcology which is to focus more on what we have and less on what we don’t have. So whether you have 1, 5, 10 or more relationships here are a few tips for making the most of these special people and enjoying happiness over the festive season…

  • look for the best in people; focus on their strenghts rather than their weaknesses
  • focus on those good relationships you do have rather than those you don’t have or those that are problematic
  • if/when you need/want to focus on those that are less than positive, focus on them in a constructive way, making the best of the situation as much as you can
  • try to spend more time with those people with whom you have a positive relationship and limit, or pace out the time you spend with negative, difficult or troublesome ones
  • reassure yourself that it’s never too late to make new friends so if you do want to boost your social network start planning ways to do this
  • and finally, remind yourself that being alone doesn’t have to equate to feeling lonely; having good times with others is great but there’s no doubt we can also have great times by ourselves!

So whatever you’re doing and whoever you’re with, don’t ever stop doing what you can to create happiness, not just at this time of year either, but where ever and when ever you can.