Hanging out with friends could actually make you happier than nesting with your family : Here’s why

If you believe that spending time with your kids and spouse is the key to your happiness, you could be in for a surprise! People actually experience higher level of wellness being while chilling around with friends than they do when spending time with their family!!

It’s shocking but true!

For quite a few, happiness does not mean spending time with family and finding relevance in unpleasant tasks like chores or caretaking duties. People admit that they usually feel higher sense of well being once they find themselves surrounded by friends and laze around, rather they do when in comforting nearness of their romantic companion or kids. Strangely, happiness marker falls sharply being around with romantic partners!!

It’s so hard to believe but our brains are wired like this. We prefer to spend more time doing enjoyable activities with friends than with our family members. What more, the bond between friends gets stronger with age and eventually could outweigh the connect with the family. These relationships make a world of difference’ and even explain why and how often people feel sick, and happy.

Does this has anything to do with the kith-kin relationship? Why mere presence’ of kids, romantic partners on one side and friends on the other do not promise similar level of happiness?

Most frequent things that people do when in company of their romantic partners include socializing, relaxing and dining out. These are no different from what they do when in the company of their friends; but there is a catch here. They just do a lot more of these fun activities while hanging with their friends and virtually no housework in the bargain. What’s more surprising is that people feel similar level of wholesomeness while in presence of friends, partners and children, once the household chores and commuting activity is taken out of their daily lives.

There definitely is a lesson here!!

Family relationships that rally around housework and childcare tend to lose sheen fast and most likely will shed a lot of happiness quickly. On the contrary, when we create opportunities for positive experience and spend exciting times with our family, we get to appreciate those moments inwardly.

Surround yourself with people who make you happy

Who makes us happy? Highly likely, it is someone that we had spent a significant amount of time with. And how does it matter to our happiness and well being? Those of us who associate themselves with cheerful people have a happier attitude and consequently a better sense of well being. It’s one person’s happiness that influences moods of those around him. It’s a chain reaction. The closer you are to such people, the longer their disposition affects your mood. The longer you live close to such a person, the stronger the effect is.

Life is too short to live miserably. Get surrounded by people who could make you happy. Find ways to turnoff anyone and everyone who breathes down your neck. Remember, heightened happiness always relieves you of stress and the rush of optimism that follows could be overwhelming.

For once let go of things. Stand true to your habits and just push over that first domino; the fear of making a worthy choice- between family and friend.

Happiness needs a warm friend

A good friendship is one that stems from mutual respect and rejoinder. It may not make us feel good but then it’s not meant to serve either pleasure or utility. Rather its friendship for friendship sake- the gold equivalent of human relationship. A lucky few amongst us may have a handful of good friends at any given time in our lives and it does not matter if they are lifelong or relatively new. It’s their uniqueness that makes them irreplaceable.

Then there is a generally accepted connection between friendship, happiness and longevity. Trust me you are more likely to ripe through a golden ‘over-the hill’ life if you savor good health and contentment.

So, go ahead… sell yourself a lot of quality friendship and try not to forget that friends are important to us not only as a person who gives an earful but because a great many  interactions– largely unplanned-help build trust amid shared concerns and confidences.

Times spent in taverns, bars, coffee shops, clubs, usual haunts are the obvious examples that create inner circles among friends. They largely accommodate your mood, frequently mimic intimacy and excite you way different than you would otherwise experience when spending time quietly within a staid family.

It is here that sharp contrast of accommodating  changes come to blows. The post WW-II baby boomers who rejected and shelved the traditional values, today prefer to hold family in esteem much above the friends. Gen-Xers see family and friend as a distinction with less of a difference. And millennials live in a world where friends equate if not truly trump the family.

It’s not hard to accept that one thing that characterizes this generation. The amount of weight and heft it lends to friendship. For once the voice of we’ has grown more teeth and ‘we’ is now not always traditional family, a home, a child or a romantic partner. Sometimes it is good friends hammering sense out of success, failure, opportunities and …choosing differently. While family relationships are ‘often enjoyable too,’ these  involve serious and negative interactions too.

This does not mean that a typical family rupture is inevitable as turning points assault family togetherness. It’s just that the millennial generation does not fancy family as a ‘go-to’ frame of reference any longer. Maybe because  friendship has turned intuitive. May be making & keeping friends whiffs of a rare experience; one that ignores and pushes the family connect right under the carpet.

Close affinities like family just don’t pop out of nowhere and mature fast. Some would argue that at times it protects from negative association of friends too. Probably yes! but it’s a whole different kind of ‘we,’ completely separate from the friendship, that I am referring to.

Staving off monotony is not enough to score over family!

If we don’t unpack our experiences, we’re right on to the next thing and never really think, ‘What does this mean for me?’ or ‘How did this influence where I’m going next?’” Kelly Guilbeau (Center for Careers, Life, and Service )

Comfortably said, friendship is no more than a navigation tool to happiness but it’s uncertain continuity tends to shift priorities. Preferring people who give an earful to our voices doesn’t mean that we can be friends only with those who never challenge our thoughts. Holding hands and striking friendship even with a romantic companion  and kids could be a better deal to save the day.

At the end of the day search yourself. “Is this friendship right for me at this point in life? How good is to have so many turning points in my life that aren’t about kids or taking care of parents…but about friendship!! …You win the game, if you have answers to these nagging sores.

In any case you need a good deal of emotional intelligence to handle this. You have to know what you are biting into, what’s a deal breaker and what you are willing to let go. You have to know what matters to you most and when it’s time to prove naysayers wrong…for the choice is all yours!

To me, it’s as simple as that.


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