Friendship comes in many different forms and shape. But, it is proven that people with one or more closer friendships, meaningful relationships appear to be happier. Having grand social networks or more friends, does not actually make you happier. It’s not the quantity but the quality of friendships that matter.
The difference is that as you make closer relationships with a few friends, see them more often and cooperate in activities, you are able to share personal feelings, as well as show support to those friends when they need you.
A study conducted at University of Illinois by Ed Diener and Martin Seligman entitled, “Very Happy People” sampled 222 undergraduate students. In comparing the upper 10% of consistently very happy people with the average and very unhappy people, it was found that the 10% were highly social. They had strong romantic and other social relationships, were more extraverted, agreeable, and less neurotic.
Other studies have found that people tend to be happiest when around their friends and family, least happy when alone, and found that cooperativeness is also a predictor of happiness. Another study published in Social Behavior and Personality, found participants who were shy and did not have a good support system had much higher levels of loneliness. And lower levels of optimism or social support increased loneliness.
Even having one close friend, with whom you can discuss feelings and anxieties, beyond simple pleasantries and impersonal topics, can make all the difference in happiness. So, take the time to value your relationships, explore them deeper, spend more time with those you care about, and in turn, you will overall become a happier person.