Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. Chapter 6. Make Time for Friends. Friendship.
Quotes and my notes
One conclusion was blatantly clear from my happiness research: everyone from contemporary scientists to ancient philosophers agrees that having strong social bonds is probably the most meaningful contributor to happiness.
You need close long-term relationships, you need to be able to confide in others, you need to belong. Studies show that if you have five or more firends with whom to discuss an important matter, you’re far more likely to describe yourself as “very happy”.
In fact, if a midlife crisis hits, one of the most common complaints is the lack of true friends.
At the same time, no matter what they’re doing, people tend to feel happier when they’re with other people.
…you also need a relationship network, which helps provide a sense of identity and self-esteem and in which you can give and receive support.
I whole-heartedly agree with all those insights. Wow. Speak the truth. I have personally discovered the truth in this. After we had kids and moved back to LA, I was disconnected from long-term relationships. I was very lonely. My wife and I were happily married, but my adult friends and colleagues were in the Bay Area. My college friends had all moved or drifted away both geographically and personally. I had a hard time connecting with people at new churches. That’s a long story, but mostly due to the season of life. Kids were small and we couldn’t attend parties or many church activities. It took several years to get out of that funk. I basically decided that I would choose happiness instead of grumpiness or loneliness or sadness. That’s where the name of my blog comes from. I got into triathlon with my friend Marvin. I found a new set of friends that were very inspiring to me. As Gretchen describes it, I found a relationship network that I could find self-esteem in, and contribute and receive support from.
Like remembering someone’s name, it’s a huge thing to some people. Birthday’s are a bare minimum.
Gretchen’s way of being generous include Helping People Think Big, Bring People Together, Contribute in My Way, Cut People Slack.
Of course giving money or presents are obvious ways of being generous, but the ways listed above are more from the heart, and much more personal. Helping Others Think Big and Bringing Others together take personal energy and personal consideration. I really identify with these two. I find a lot of satisfaction in personal conversations with people and seeing what Big Things they can do. I also like to bring people together in events. My wife likes to match make. I shy away from that; took much emotional blow back is possible. Contributing My Way takes advantage of the way I like to work. So, my generosity is on my terms. It feels good because it’s what and how I like to be generous. I get that not everybody receives it the same, or seeing that it’s generosity. Cut People Slack moderates my bad emotions.
One of the best ways to make yourself happy is to make other people happy.
One of the best ways to make other people happy is to be happy yourself.
This is totally true for setting up new friendships. Just showing up means a lot. Actions speak louder than words at the beginning of a relationship. Who shows up for a ride? Who shows up for a run? Who shows up every week for a brick workout? Who shows up 11 weeks In a row for a Computrainer team challenge. You show your value and trustworthiness by just showing up. Make a lunch date and show up. No excuses, just show up.
when people gossip, they generally criticize people… Despite its bad reputation, gossip plays an important social role by reinforcing community values: It makes people feel closer to each other, it unifies people who play by the rules… It exposes the misbehavior of those who cheat on their spouses, don’t return phone calls, or take credit for others work… But although gossip may serve an important social function and it’s certainly fun, it’s not a very nice thing to do.
Dismiss gossip. Believe the best in people. Look for the best in people. Always speak the best of your friends.
Make Three New Friends
Reaching out to new people is refreshing. It pushes me out of my comfort zone. At church, I wear a name tag to introduce myself and to meet new people. At Tri Club events, I always introduce myself and try to make new friends. I add mnemonics to help me remember people’s names. I like to quickly post pictures from a ride and add their names. I think it really connects with people.
Gretchen’s tips for making new friends:
– Smile more often.
– Actively invite others to join a conversation.
– Create a positive mood.
– Open a conversation.
– Try to look accessible and warm.
– Show a vulnerable side and laugh at yourself,
– Show a readiness to be pleased.
– Follow others conversational lead.
– Ask questions.
All are great tips.