Does Having More Friends Make You Happier?

I'm a little surprised that pets weren't a category--aren't pets supposed to help you live longer?

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know that I’m fascinated by the idea of happiness. What makes us happy? How can we be happier? What’s really important when it comes to personal happiness?

Thus I was rather intrigued to find an article online that listed 10 keys for determining happiness. The article isn’t a checklist of things to do to be happier; it simply outlines 10 qualities that have been proven to be correlated to happiness.

So I took those qualities and created a simple survey on Qualtrics so you and I could determine our happiness quotient. I asked 10 questions and asked people to make on a scale from 1 to 5 how much they agree with each quality. The higher the number, the higher the score. The qualities of happiness:

  1. Ability to let things go.
  2. Perception of Equal Treatment
  3. Large Number of Friends
  4. Level of Active Spirituality
  5. Ability to Imagine the Future
  6. Specific Developed Skills
  7. Control of Your Life
  8. Competitive with Self or Not Competitive (opposed to being comparing yourself to others to determine success)
  9. Good Genes
  10. High Self-Esteem

28 people responded to the survey. With the highest possible score of 50, the happiest person scored a 46 and the least happy person scored a 27. The average score was 38.

What’s interesting to me are patterns within the categories–where do we collectively struggle? Personally, my lowest marks were in ability to let things go and specific developed skills. Overall, the three categories with the lowest average score were:

  • ability to let things go (3.4 average)
  • level of active spirituality (3.4)
  • competitive with self (3.6)

The categories where we’re all doing really well are:

  • perception of equal treatment (4.3)
  • ability to imagine the future (4.4)

So how can we use this knowledge? To a certain extent, we are who we are. You either have good genes or you don’t. You’re either spiritual or you aren’t. But, as category 7 says, we have free will, and if we choose to exert it, we’ll be happier people.

Thanks to everyone who took the survey. It’s still open if you’d like to determine your happiness quotient.