As put forth by the Second Splendid Truth:
One of the best ways to make yourself happy is to make other people happy;
One of the best ways to make other people is to be happy yourself.
Everyone accepts the Second Splendid Truth, Part A; the Second Splendid Truth, Part B often isn’t as clear to people.
But to focus on Part A here — how do you know if you’re making other people happy? What are some signs?
Are the following statements true for you:
- Do people seem to feel comfortable confiding in you?
- Do people follow your recommendations?
- Are you a source of material comfort or security for someone else?
- Do people whom you’ve introduced often go on to have a continuing relationship?
- Do people seem to drift toward you? Join a conversation that you’re having, sit down next to you at a meeting?
- Have you recently been involved in the improvement or growth of an organization, group, or process that involves many other people?
- Are you providing opportunities for other people – job leads, blind dates, contacts in a new city?
- Do people whom you hardly remember go out of their way to greet you warmly? Say, the friend of your old roommate, or a former co-worker?
- Do people seem to want to connect with you — by making plans or by emailing, calling, or texting?
- Do people seem energized by you? Do they smile and laugh in your presence?
Notice some items that are not on the list:
- Do people remember your birthday?
- Do people give you presents (say, for Mothers’ Day, or in recognition of an important milestone)?
- Do people express appreciation and gratitude for your efforts?
Even if you’re making people happy, they don’t always respond by making these gestures. (Which can be quite annoying.)
A while back, I posted a quiz, Are you the person whom everyone else finds difficult? It was a lot easier to think of signs that you make people unhappy than you make people happy – perhaps because of the negativity bias.
What am I missing? I feel like I’ve overlooked some obvious indicators. What are some other good signs that you make people happy?
Several months ago, “The Happiness Project” was an answer to one of the questions on the quiz show Jeopardy! As you can imagine, this was a tremendous thrill. That episode ran again yesterday, and it was practically as exciting the second time.
Is your book group reading The Happiness Project? Email me if you’d like the one-page discussion guide — or the discussion guide for spirituality book groups, Bible study groups, and the like. Drop me a line at gretchenrubin1 at gretchenrubin dot com. Happy reading!