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When it comes to friends and happiness, quality matters.

People have known this for centuries. One good friend means more to us than 20 acquaintances. But now recent studies appear to back up this common knowledge, and the results could have significant implications to recent trends in online social networking.

Researchers Meliksah Demir and Lesley Weitekamp wanted to explore the interrelationships between personality, friendship and happiness. Specifically, they wanted to know whether friendship contributed to happiness if personality stayed out of the picture. After surveying more than 400 young adults, they concluded that happiness accounted for nearly 60 percent of the variance in happiness. The authors of the study suggest that even though one could be predisposed to being happy, having a friendship that is high in quality “still adds something extra to our lives and has the potential to increase one’s happiness level.” The researchers also suggest that friendship is important regardless of a person’s personality.

What were the two most important characteristics of friendship that seem to predict happiness? Companionship and self-validation. In other words, in the U.S. we want our friends to be with us. We also want them to help us maintain our self-image by being reassuring and encouraging.

Source: I Am So Happy ‘Cause Today I Found My Friend: Friendship and Personality as Predictors of Happiness by Meliksah Demir and Lesley A. Weitekamp

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