I have a wonderful marriage, but I’d like more friends . My best friend is my husband. We live together, work together, exercise together, and even do errands with each other. I’m wondering if this is a normal and healthy situation.
Research from positive psychology demonstrates that positive relationships make us happier in the long run. Psychology professors Ed Diener and Martin Seligman have found in their studies that the very happiest people are those in long-term relationships. Their studies also show that married people consistently report higher levels of life-satisfaction than those who are single. In fact, research indicates that people with strong social networks, whether it be through family, friendships, community, or the workplace, tend to live happier, more fulfilling lives.
So this is what’s bugging me. I don’t have a strong social network. With my family and work (and a few cats and dogs) as the focal point of my life, I haven’t reached out to others—I haven’t built other connections. The question is why?
- Not enough time in my life?
- I am content with my narrow world?
- It takes too much effort to meet new people?
- I don’t relate well to others?
- All of the above?
What about you? Do you have a strong social network? Do your friends contribute to your happiness? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this!
The Relationship Cure by John M. Gottman
Gottman, J. & DeClaire, J. (2001). The relationship cure: A 5 step guide to strengthening your marriage, family, and friendships. New York: Three Rivers Press.
Gottman, J. & Silver, N. (2000). The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: A Practical Guide from the Country’s Foremost Relationship Expert. New York: Three Rivers Press.
Goleman, D. (2006). Social Intelligence. The Revolutionary New Science of Human Relationships. New York: Bantum Dell.
Harvey, J. H. (2001). Odyssey of the Heart: Close Relationships in the 21st Century. 2nd ed. New York: W.H. Freeman.
Harvey, J.H. & Omarzu, J. (1999). Minding the Close Relationship: A Theory of Relationship Enhancement. New York: Cambridge University Press.
For many years traditional psychology has focused on us as individuals. It has all been about us! Yet one of the most consistent findings from Positive Psychology is that other people matter. Extroverts report being significantly happier than introverts. Our willingness to trust others drives our ability to forge meaningful relationships and succeed in teams and in love. How trusting are you of your friends and your colleagues? What’s holding you back? Our course in Positive Relationships probe these questions and more.
I subscribe to the Zone Positive blog. I can identify with a lot of the sticky situations they write about!