I recently posted a list How to make friends — or at least think about it more clearly. That list sets forth the “essential friendship skills.”
But knowing the essential friendship skills isn’t the same thing as being able to make friends. And friends are very important to happiness. The more I’ve studied happiness, in fact, the more convinced I’ve become that loneliness is a very common and very serious challenge to happiness. I think it’s a subject that deserves more attention.
Ancient philosophers and contemporary scientists agree: strong social ties are a key — arguably the key — to happiness. You need close, long-term relationships; you need to be able to confide in others; you need to belong; you need to get and give support. Studies show that if you have five or more friends with whom to discuss an important matter you’re far more likely to describe yourself as “very happy.”
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