Why good friends make you happy

Why good friends make you happy

The answer to the question in the title should, in theory, be easy to answer. But all too often the relationship between friendships and happiness is forgotten and unfortunately, happiness gets lost in selfishness. 

Accordingly, I thought it important to share this article with you and hope that more and more of us will find real and meaningful happiness in…our relationships with others. 

Read on and enjoy…

Phillip Moeller for US News

The gravitational pull of individual friendships can have an enormous cumulative effect on the quality of our lives. With growing numbers of people living alone, either by choice or circumstance, friendships can occupy the emotional space that other people fill with spouses or significant others. Friends can link us to broader social networks and help enrich our lives. At the end of the day, a friend can be the emotional oasis that makes all the difference.

"Friends are what make us uniquely human," says James Fowler, professor of medical genetics and political science at the University of California at San Diego. "There is no other species that interacts so widely with other members of their species. So right away, you know that when you're studying these relationships with friends, what you're really doing is studying what makes us unique."

After a career studying different types of relationships and their impact on well-being and health, Harvard relationship expert Lisa Berkman has developed a broad view of the relationships people need in order to thrive. There is no optimal mix of friends and family, or of intimate and more casual friendships. "You can substitute these things," she says. "People who have a lot of friends may not need a lot of family ties." Religion and other group interests also can provide tremendous emotional support and human contact that fulfills our need for human companionship and reinforcement.

Solid friendships provide needed validation that a person is valuable and of interest to other people. "Relationships help people feel that they're worthy, that they are capable, that they can set goals and accomplish them, and that they can control their life," says Toni Antonucci, a professor of psychology at the University of Michigan. Antonucci has developed a structure of friendship represented by three concentric circles that she describes as very close, close, and not-so-close but still meaningful personal ties. The rings can play different roles, with strong and emotional ties serving some functions and less-intimate friendships filling other needs….

…keep reading the full and original article HERE