SFH #91: Three Degrees of Happiness

Consider your network of friends for health and happiness 🤲🏽

I just wrapped up another evening sharing deep, vulnerable feelings with a group of men. It makes me uber happy inside. When we finished, I immediately came to my computer to do a little light research on the concept from Jim Rohn that 'you're the average of your five closest friends.' It was a topic that came up tonight as we reflected on someone's friendly gathering that occurred this past weekend. While it's compelling, there's no precise science that I could find to support the idea, though I found something I thought was even more exciting and illuminating.

In a study conducted over 20 years, looking at close to 5000 participants, researchers found a profound and lasting network effect of happiness over several degrees (three exactly).1 You probably aren't surprised to learn that a single person's happiness can benefit their friends. And maybe only slightly surprised to hear that it can help their friends' friends. And hopefully, you are as floored as I am to learn that it works for their friend's friend's friends, plus the effect lasts for up to one year.

You can listen to one of the authors of this study discuss it below.


The study shows that you have a 6 percent greater likelihood of being happy if your friend of a friend is happy. That may not seem like a big increase, though when you compare against a $10,000 raise triggering only a 2 percent increase in your happiness, you probably want to take a deeper look at who you spend time with!

Tonight, I'm appreciative of being deliberate about who I am spending time with within my entire network. 😍