When we think about the things that make us happy, we often imagine a beautiful home, a great career, recognition, and wealth.
Yet scientists claim that around 40% of our happiness is genetic, not dependent on external circumstances.
Another vital contributor to our happiness is the quality of our relationships. Not only are they essential for our happiness, but contribute to better health and longer life.
Robin Dunbar has suggested that the human brain has a limiting capacity to create relationships.
Here is his theory:
- 5 people - our inner circle
- 15 - close friends,
- 50 - friends
- 150 - meaningful contacts
- 500 acquaintances
- 1500 people we can recognise
Every five years, half of our social circle will be replaced by newcomers, as changing circumstances make us change our priorities and who we hang out with.
So what influences the strength of relationships? Unsurprisingly, the time that people spend together. To have somebody as a close friend, you need to stay in contact at least once a week and spend over 200 hours (that is four years of building a relationship if you meet weekly for 1 hour). If you do not invest time, the ties between people get weaker. The next time you meet, you might feel awkward around them.
Check in with yourself. Are you feeling lonely? Do you like the people who surround you? Are you investing in meaningful relationships? Like plants, our relationships fade and dry out if we don't give them enough care.
If you want to increase the quality of your relationships and life, why not have a free introductory coaching session with me?