It is a fairly well researched fact that your social network is a big contributor to your overall life happiness. If you are like most of my clients who are entrepreneurs, in between jobs, or retired, you might not be going into an office every day where you interact with others on a regular basis. And because of this, you could be missing a social support system that you didn’t even realize you would miss. And if you are working in an office and are regularly interacting with other people, who those people are will make a huge difference in how you feel.
If you work with other people who have very different interests from you, you are missing out of a great community at work. Even if you find one friend at work with whom you share interests and are able to connect will make a huge difference to your everyday sense of happiness. If your job doesn’t supply that, you should ask yourself if that is the right place for you. If you aren’t working in an office, you need to be a bit more deliberate to seek out others for your personal community, but it is worth it.
There are certainly individually differences in terms of how many people you need in your social circle. But in general, you will benefit from having a couple of people who you can go to in times of distress for support and to have meaningful conversations. And it is also helpful to find a small group of people who enjoy the same activities and interests as you do. Consider joining an existing club or create a new group. There are lots of people who meet monthly or weekly to share interests in areas such as books, volunteering, meditation, walking, hiking, biking, crafts, or you name it. Check out https://www.meetup.com/ for local ideas as well as your local papers.
Sharing talents and interests with others in your community is a great way to build your support system. And it is important that the people in your life are generally happy themselves. This is a really important point that is often overlooked—particularly among people who have many connections in their life yet still feel something is lacking. If the people in your life are unhappy, they won’t be supporting your own happiness. Find some new people to connect with who are happy.
And let go of friendships that are destructive to your own well-being. I know that isn’t easy. But think of how you feel after conversations with certain people who make it a habit of complaining and comparing misery—particularly at work. You can feel poisoned. Imagine if you replace those conversations with meaningful, positive and constructive discussions. That will increase your own positive emotions. So that means finding other happy people with optimistic attitudes. If your company doesn’t have happy people, you might want to consider a change of venue. And if you are not working or are on your own, setting up times to get together regularly with people who have a happy view is essential for your own cheerfulness.
So as you develop your community, keep in mind these two very important factors that will increase your feeling of pleasure and happiness: seek out people who have common interests, and build relationships with other folks who are generally happy. Even if you are an introvert and find that your personal circle only needs to have a few people, connecting with like-minded souls who share your interests and who are happy will make all the difference to your own happiness.