Research by Nicholas Christakis and James Fowler suggests that happiness, along with other behaviours is contagious. If you belong to a social network that has a general attitude of positivity, it will rub off on you. It is true that the company we keep influences our thoughts, moods and behaviours.
People who have one or more close friendships tend to be happier.
People with few social ties are 2 to 3 times more likely to suffer from depression, as compared to those with stronger social bonds.
People with strong and healthy relationships are less likely to feel stressed by challenging situations.
What is the Quality of your Social Network?
Social network is about the number of people you interact with. You can count your social media friends in this group even acquaintances.
In this advanced age of online communication, with the means to connect to each other remotely has made social connection easier by taking down the confidence barriers. It is now just a simple search to find people with the same interests, hobbies and aspirations in the same locality.
The negative that online communication as caused over the last 2 generations is due to the fact we have become a cocoon society. In 2013, a USA Today article entitled "Cocooning: It's back and thanks to tech" stated that “Thanks to 24hr wireless Internet connectivity and bigger, better mobile devices that reproduce pixel-perfect high-definition video, cocooning is entering a new evolutionary stage. Consumers are staying home more, watching movies delivered via satellite or the Internet to their smart TV’s, eating in by ordering online and transforming their homes into a she shelter or a man cave away from the daily social connectivity soon becomes isolation.”
But a social network is not the same as social support.
Social Support has more to do with the quality of your friends. If we want to be happy, building stronger ties should be one of our priorities. We need to cultivate relationships that go deeper than just a simple Hi and Hello. How many of your friends can you really rely on? Is there anyone you can turn to when you have problems? Someone who has your well-being and happiness in mind? A source of inspiration and hope?