Are relationships are an important element in our happiness?

I have written about many factors that people have identified as contributing to happiness. One such factor is the quality of our relationships. This is one on which experts disagree. I will explain why later. But first things first.

What do I mean by ‘relationships’?

Nowadays, we often use this word when we mean ‘sexual relationships’. Other possibilities are work, business and family and friendships. Whilst it is important to look after business and other aspects of our lives, family relationships are the ones the experts think matter most in this context. But don’t neglect the other ones. I was temped to write ‘invest in people’. However, I am aware of an oganisation of that name which gives accreditation to businesses for good personnel policies and practices. I don’t want to confuse you.

What do I mean by ‘invest’?

You can invest money. You can also invest time and effort. Where relationships are concerned, time and effort are what we most need to invest, although money may come into it. It is about priorities. We can get so obsessed with other things that families and friends get … well, not forgotten, but you know what I mean. When you are old, you are unlikely to say ‘I wish I had spent more time in the office’. You could find you have got out of touch with everyone you used to know.

Controversial? Who thinks relationships aren’t factors in happiness?

It seems some of us are natural introverts, recluses even. Such people find relationships are hard work. I mean, harder than they are for everyone else. Following this advice, for them could be stressful. Some people are happier to be left alone. Is that in their best interests? Unfortunately, they often want to be alone only some of the time. Other times they do want company. If you are one, don’t leave it too late to invest in people, or you will become a total recluse. You may have to make an effort.

What do I think?

Personally, I think it is important to know yourself. Be yourself. I said that somewhere else. See The First Step to Happiness: Don’t be a Basil Fawlty!

Just be aware of the issue and be yourself, but make it a conscious decision.