The Secret to “Happiness”

When I say “happiness” I don’t mean a deep abiding happiness, sorry, we’ll talk about that some other time, I’m just talking about regular TV-sitcom level happiness. Being happy enough to feel brave sometimes, try new things, be open to healthy relationships, and happy enough to stay away from harmful relationships…that sort of thing. The secret to happiness is…having friends. “Oh I have friends…” you say. Okay, let me qualify that, the secret is to be part of a “community” of friends.

Any time I want to see someone and catch up with someone, everyone takes out their BlackBerrys and says, ‘This weekend isn’t good; how about three weeks from now?’ “ said Ms. Sirkin, who moved to New York from Milan in June 2007. “How can you form really good and solid relationships with people if you see them once a month? — NY Times, Newcomers Adjust…to NY (Aug 28, 2008)

“Okay, what do you mean by ‘community?’” What makes a “community” of friends (the way I’m defining it here) is, two things:

  1. You see your friends on a regular basis without having to plan for it… So college is great because you see the same people around the common areas or at class or at some other hangout on a regular basis. You don’t have to plan for it – you bump into friends serendipitously on a regular basis.
  2. You can see friends spontaneously. These friends are close enough geographically and available (to you) enough so that you can arrange to meet up with them on short notice. The same friends don’t have to fit into both criteria: you don’t have to see them regularly AND be able to see them spontaneously… They can be two different sets of friends, but you really need at least a couple of each type.

Now like I said, this won’t solve any existential problems of joy and purpose, but it will help put you in a place where you can be happy enough to explore deeper things…and stay away from the more self-destructive things. Anyway, that’s my suggestion…build a community of friends. Sometimes you’ll have the type [1] friends automatically through work or school, sometimes not; but type two friends might take a little effort (but not much).

How do I know this? What do I base this on? I could say I discovered this empirically through my massive brain, but really it has to do with how the Bible says we’re wired (emotionally and spiritually)… “Sin” is that which separates us from God (who loves us, and whom we would love if we only knew) and potential friends (who would love us, and whom we could love if we only knew).

[About the photo: If you're old enough to remember the show then you'll know...]

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