People with strong and broad social relationships are happier, healthier and live longer. By nature we are social creatures and it makes sense that relationships are central to our happiness. Close relationships with family and friends provide love, meaning, support and increase our feelings of self worth. Broader networks bring a sense of belonging. So taking action to strengthen our relationships and build connections is essential for happiness. It goes that far, that Scott Allen noted The Emergence of the Relationship Economy. “Connecting is the ability to identify with people and relate to them in a way that increases your influence with them.” is a quote from John C. Maxwell – Everyone Communicates, Few Connect: What the Most Effective People Do Differently.
You may think that networking is about the old boys network only, meet to gain from others. You may think that gathering as much followers, friends, connections and likes on social media networks really make up your network. How strong are your networks? Can you call on your key contacts to help, guide, advise, and introduce? Thanking people, offering help en seeding conversations with information about the other’s interests and needs. Also important are the eagerness to learn from the other and simply asking who you should talk to. Lessons, I picked from Judy Robinett‘s How to Be a Power Connector: The 5+50+100 Rule for Turning Your Business Network into Profits.
Of course, some relationships are difficult. You can learn to deal with them too. June Hunt wrote a useful book about this topic. Kerry Patterson helps you in Crucial Conversations – Tools for talking when stakes are high. In Life-Changing Conversations, psychologist and coach Sarah Rozenthuler provides seven keys to success: calling up your courage, focusing on your intention, creating positive space, speaking your truth, having a flexible style, cultivating constructive controversy, and obtaining closure.
So working on our relationships is good for happiness and working on our happiness is good for our relationships. That’s a win all round!
More keys to happier living
In the coming weeks I’ll share more keys for happier living, as part of the Action for Happiness.