Birds on branches

Your Result

Deepen your relationships by making regular connections

To be happier, consider a habit that will deepen your relationships by making regular connections.

Why this aim is likely to make you happier

Ancient philosophers and contemporary scientists agree: strong relationships are a key—perhaps the key—to a happy life. Humans are social creatures, and maintaining friendships, relationships with siblings and family members, and loving habits with our partners requires intentional time and effort.

When we have strong, healthy relationships, we feel a sense of belonging and community, we have support and accountability for our aims, and we create happy memories to look back on. Knowing someone deeply, and being known, can be a comforting and enriching experience.

Aims you might consider

Every week, look through your camera roll and send a photo to a friend

Set up “errand dates” with a friend or neighbor

Schedule a weekly “walk and talk” and phone a friend or family member

Practice warm greetings and goodbyes with your partner

Start a group that meets regularly

Plan weekly internet-free times with your family

Watch a movie or play a board game with your partner or family every week

Make a point to give a warm “hello” and “good-bye” whenever you come and go

Know Yourself Better

Self-knowledge is an essential aspect of happiness, because we can create a happy life only on the foundation of our own nature, our own values, and our own interests. 

As you consider ways to deepen your relationships by making regular connections​​, ask yourself:

  • What kind of social activities make you feel most connected to other people?
  • Do you have any dormant friendships you’d like to rekindle?
  • What is your love language? According to Gary Chapman’s framework, they are: Words of Affirmation, Physical Touch, Acts of Service, Quality Time, and Gifts. Think about the important relationships in your life. What are the love languages of the people to whom you’re closest?
  • Consider your Tendency. Learn how you respond to expectations by taking the free Four Tendencies Quiz.
    • If you’re an Obliger, is there a regular activity you could do with a friend?
    • If you’re a Questioner, how can you customize your habit of connection to suit your interests?
    • If you’re an Upholder, consider adding a weekly phone call or coffee date to your schedule.
    • If you’re a Rebel, consider how you might cultivate your identity of “good friend,” “loving spouse,” “supportive sibling,” etc.

A few notes of caution…

  • As you consider ways to connect, there’s one important principle to keep in mind: Lower the bar! Frequent contact, even fleeting, is better than infrequent contact. Call, or if you don’t want to call, send an email or a text. A coffee date with a friend you haven’t seen in two years is better than no contact at all.

  • Sometimes we feel uncomfortable reaching out. But, research shows we underestimate how much people will welcome attempts to reconnect. The old friend you lost touch with might be thinking about you too—and be very happy that you reached out.