Surprising Way Your Friends Affect Your Happiness, According To Study (& What To Do About It)
I feel incredibly lucky to have people in my life who inspire me and who help me grow in the best possible ways. They’re imaginative, supportive and give honest advice about my sometimes-crazy ideas. But, I’m sure I’m not alone in saying there are some people in my life who perhaps bring down my vibe with gossip and negativity. Now, don’t get me wrong, I sometimes fall into the trap of gossiping and I’m not saying that you’re a ‘’bad’’ person for doing it, because let’s be honest, who doesn’t occasionally moan about someone who is always talking negatively about others or being judgmental? It could also be those people in my life who now don’t align with my values. Either way, I know that when I spend too much time with them, I lose sight of myself a little. Some people are really good at cutting these people out, but I’m a chronic people pleaser (something I’m painfully working on) and so the thought of explicitly saying “adiós” to someone is anxiety-inducing.
It’s important for our happiness to say goodbye to those who don’t make us jump for joy
Everyone we meet is a mirror of ourselves in some way—they have something to teach us. If we meet people and they are so annoying, like the co-worker who eats all of the break room snacks, this annoyance can usually tell us something about ourselves that we don’t like. In this case, maybe we feel insecure about how much or how little we eat and so our co-worker’s behavior triggers us.
However, sometimes the lesson that someone teaches us is that we don’t want or need this kind of energy in our life. Realizing what kind of relationships work for you and not being afraid to end those that don’t can help improve mental health and lead to living a happier more joy-filled life—it’s an act of self-love after all.
Think about a selection of people that you spend time with relatively often. When you’re making plans to hang out do you feel excitement, inspiration and happiness? Or do you feel anxiety and dread? If it’s the latter that is a sure sign that for your own good you need to let them go.
What if who our friend’s, friend’s are friends with effects our happiness?!
So you’ve decided who is working for you in your life, you’ve waved goodbye with a #sorrynotsorry to those who aren’t on your vibe. Life’s going to be non-stop joy now, right? However, what if I told you that it isn’t just your friend’s energy that affects your happiness, but your friend’s friends’ friend! A study by researchers at the University of California, San Diego, has shown that yes, our immediate friend’s happiness has a 15% impact on our own; it also showed that the happiness of your friend’s friend has a 10% impact on your happiness but even more surprising to me, your friend’s friend’s friend’s happiness has a 5% impact on your happiness. It kind of makes sense in a chain-reaction way, but also, it’s crazy because your friend might not even know the person who is affecting you, let alone you knowing them. And how are we supposed to live a happy life if people who we don’t even have any relationship with can affect our well-being through mutual friends?!
Do we just live like hermits then?!
Obviously, we are social creatures and we need supportive people around us to really thrive. But how do we even begin negotiating a world where #sorrynotsorry goodbyes to people not on our vibe isn’t a foolproof way to make our life a bubble of happiness? Well, this study shows that it is more important than ever to wave goodbye to those who don’t align with you, because the chances are, if you don’t vibe with this person, you won’t vibe with their friends.
This study also highlights the importance our own behavior has on others: no man is an island after all. Now, I’m not saying that you can never be sad or depressed or angry because it is important to feel through those emotions and release them, not bury them deep. But what it does highlight is that if you are spreading negative vibes in terms of gossiping, judging, and being unsupportive to your friends or those around you, you could inadvertently be affecting the happiness of a large group of people.
Be the change you wish to see
Going forward with the information from this study we can take two main points away.
- Be picky with who you have in your life. It is fine to decide that a certain person or group of people aren’t helping you grow and be happy and so politely cutting them from your life.
- Be aware of how your behaviur can affect a large group of people. Strive to be your most authentic and beautiful self. Spread the love that you wish to receive because after all your vibe attracts your tribe.
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