Happiness is…knowing your friends

Happiness is…knowing your friends

The positive psychology research from the last decade or two indicates that there's absolutely no doubt that happiness and wellbeing, living a good life and flourishing depend at least in part on good quality relationships. Although we all make our own decisions about healthy living and optimistic thinking, about how we act and interact, health and happiness are also significantly influenced by those around us; by our friends and loved ones; our connections and those in our network. 

So how do you know if you have good friends? 

This might seem like an unnecessary question as most of us probably think we already know who our friends are and whether or not they're "good"…and we'd be right in thinking this, to a point!

Today I invite you to think about your friends in 2 specific contexts; how, for example, do they act when you're going through a difficult time and how do they act or respond when things are going well in your life? 

Firstly, good friends offer support (not necessarily advice) during tough times. They're there for you and let you know that they are there for you. They offer to help and actually help; the pitch in, bring supplies, do what ever is necessary and/or appropriate to the circumstances. At the same time, however, they recognise when it's time to give you space, to back off and allow you time to yourself or time with your family. Good friends do all of this without expectation of anything in return and they do all of this despite having their own (usually busy) lives to lead. 

Secondly, good friends are also around when things are going right. In fact it's possible that what friends do during "good times" is even more important (or certainly just as important) as what they do during the difficult times. When things go right good friends sing with joy, they celebrate with you and they sit with you to savour the wonders of what ever it is that's going on. Good friends enjoy your happiness with you and by doing so, enhance that happiness in you and in themselves. 

So today's posting is a suggestion to reflect upon your friends and although this is not meant to be an invitation to "judge" those around you and to label them as "good" or "bad" it is meant to provide a thought provoking prompt which may lead to you reassessing certain relationships and ultimately, for your own happiness, deciding to give some relationships more value than you'd previously done. 

What do you think? To what extent do your relationships add to or detract from your happiness and are you willing to share some examples of positive and supportive friendships? If so, we'd love to read your stories on The Happiness Institute's Facebook Page HERE