Which Friendships Bring the Most Happiness?
I’ve got a theory about happiness and how it influences friendship. The longer your friendship the greater the potential there is for lasting happiness.
Of course, that flies in the face of a lot of popular thinking. According to prevailing views, you need to have plenty of friends but not sweat about having any of them for long. Friendship quantity not quality is the answer to happiness. At least, that’s how relationships are often portrayed these days.
If you have a full address book and people clamoring to go out with you then you must surely be happy, true? Well, no, I don’t think so. “Take out” relationships have a got to get/got to go mentality to them. That means nobody is around long enough to get through to the true you and challenge you to be more than you are.
Sure, there’s pleasure in even brief friendships. Happiness can certainly burst forth from the thrills of excitement of new company. But there’s a veil implied by the brevity of “quickie” contacts. Nobody sees the real you and me, if we don’t hang around long enough for life’s ups and downs to play out.
Friendship, and I mean the best of friendship, sees us in all our “disappointing glory”. We are forced to show our far from glamorous side and risk rejection on a painful scale. But that’s the full strength stuff, not the “let me impress you” variety. That kind only goes so long as we can continue to hit the spot with cleverness and whatever else. Long-lived happiness can never take place in such a rarified space. Instead, we get something else. A form of pleasure based happiness that’s more like a thrill and, as good as it is, it can never last.
Those of you who have been reading my posts for a while know that, despite my silliness, I’m old school about relationship. Lasting happiness thrives in the climate of sustained friendships so they’re well worth preserving.
For happiness to be enduring, I recommend deep, long-term commitment to the people we care about. We need them to find out about life, be nourished, and to grow. Short-term friendships just don’t go far enough. Instead, they either imply that nobody else is ever suitable to be forever friends with, or else we aren’t.
As a rule of thumb, I recommend investing the most in your longest-lived relationships. If they’ve stuck with you for this long, it’s worth keeping on keeping on. Dare honesty and be as loyal and loving as you dream others would be to you. That gives your friendships the best chance to flourish and, potentially, adds something immeasurable to your happiness.
When it comes to making friendships great, here is my simple formula for happiness.. always lead the way.
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