The benefits of connections

IMG_4209No, I don’t mean “connections” like the kind of people who can get you into fancy restaurants without RSVPs. (I’d love to have those…but then again, we rarely eat at fancy restaurants!)

I mean connections as in friends, family, and all the other people who make us smile, look out for us, and make our lives better.

While The Hubby and I are basically homebodies (we’d much rather spend a Saturday night on the couch watching a movie than out at a club), we do have a close circle of friends that we see often for game nights, potlucks, and other fun stuff. Plus we’re both pretty close to our families.

And since I love thinking about happiness and what we can do to be happier, I thought I’d look into some of the ways that having good, strong relationships in our lives contributes to our happiness:

Less stress. At the end of a long day (or the middle of a long one), just talking to a friend on the phone can make me feel so much better. They make me smile, laugh, and can put things into perspective when I start to get a little caught up in the moment.

Support when you need it (and sometimes when you don’t). It’s great knowing that any time we need to go out of town, The Hubby and I have a whole network of people happy to take care of Big Dog and Little Dog for us while we’re away.

It’s also great (although it doesn’t feel so great at the time) to have people who will tell me if I’m getting all worked up over nothing or if I’m being too nice to the coworker who’s taking advantage of everyone in the office. (Drama not worth getting into.) People who will “tell it to you straight” because they care, even if they know you may not want to hear it.

Acceptance no matter what. There’s nothing like a best friend since high school (or a mom!) to make you feel better when you’re feeling bad about yourself…whether it’s your looks, your job, your hang-ups, or any other issues. Having people you can be your silliest with, your saddest with, or your grumpiest with…who will still be there for you…is a huge support system.

People who “get you.” There’s also nothing like those people you’ve known so long you hardly have to speak to know what’s going through each other’s minds. People who hear what you’re really saying (underneath what you’re saying saying) and who can tell when something’s wrong even if you aren’t admitting it. People who laugh at the same things you do. People you don’t have to “try” around.

Company. It never ceases to amaze me how, when I’m in one of those “I don’t want to be around anyone” moods, being around people always makes me feel better. We’re social creatures, and being around others can take us outside of ourselves, give us a sense of connection, and helps us feel understood and empathized with.

What do you get from your relationships with friends and family? What other happiness boosters have I missed?





photo credit:  Eddie Penland


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