{This is the second installment from
Become Today’s Leader: Three life changing facts from positive psychology}

During my year in the Master’s of Applied Positive Psychology program at the University of Pennsylvania, one of my professors, Chris Peterson, frequently reminded us that Positive Psychology could be shortened into one phrase: “Other People Matter.”

What he meant was that research he and others had done on happiness and flourishing repeatedly showed that the happiest people have rich and rewarding relationships with others, and that they nurture these relationships constantly. This research completely changed my life. I began to say “yes” to every gathering I was invited to, and created sacred places in my calendar that continue to be devoted to getting together with people who are important to me. It has been life-changing.

So if you want to be happy and maximize your chances of success, good health and a rewarding life, you have to pay attention to your friendships and feed them with time, love and attention. You can’t grow a garden without sunlight, water and fertilizer, so instead of hoping that people you know will always be in your life, make them a priority starting now so you’ll always reap those benefits.

Three Tips:

Make sure you water the “right” relationships.

We need to be discriminating about our friends because “frenemies” are well-known black holes, particularly for women, who fear the repercussions of eliminating them and looking “not nice.” But people who don’t encourage us to be at our best, and who don’t elicit the desirable behavior from us, shouldn’t be allowed close because we “catch” behaviors from people with whom we spend time.

Tend and Befriend.

A landmark UCLA study found that women benefit on a chemical level when they spend time with cherished friends. Women who “tend” to the right relationships and “befriend” others secrete oxytocin, the bonding and “love” hormone.

Don’t do virtual friendships.

While there are some initial benefits to connecting with friends online, particularly those with whom you have lost touch, you cannot read and interpret social cues correctly unless you are face-to-face. Recent research found that it’s far better to focus on a few relationships in person and to go “deep” instead of going “wide” and amassing a lot of LinkedIn/Facebook/Instagram, etc friendships. Besides, research has repeatedly found that spending enormous amounts of time on Facebook actually results in increased depression!


Caronline Adams Miller

Caroline Adams Miller
Certified Professional Coach (Happiness and Goal Attainment), Best-selling Author (“Feeding the Soul”, “Bright Words for Dark Days”and “Creating Your Best Life: The Ultimate Life List Guide”, Media Personality, Keynote Speaker & Teacher.
Learn more, visit http://www.carolinemiller.com/

About the Author Cecilia

I am a marketing communications specialist, strategist, problem solver and founder of The Marketing Boutique. Services also include competitive analysis, public relations, content marketing to help companies reach their business goals.


  1. I could not agree more! When we realize that other people matter and that we each have an opportunity to impact other people for the better, it’s hard not to focus on it.

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