How Good Relationships Promote Happiness

A group of friends at a coffee shop

We can usually count our true friends on our fingers. The number of family members who we’d consider close friends is often also small.

But here, I’d highlight the importance of cultivating quality in our intimate relationships.

When I talk about intimate relationships, I refer to a bond that is established based on trust, in which you share beliefs and values with the other party, as well as affection, warmth and reciprocity.

In 2015, Robert Waldinger presented (in his TEDx talk) the results of the longest known study into happiness, the Study of Adult Development, which followed 724 participants over a period of approximately 75 years.

The main conclusion of this study was that maintaining good intimate relationships is the main determining factor for a healthy and happy life.

In order for relationships to be based on trust, we need to act truthfully. A long-term intimate relationship depends on both parties maintaining coherence between what they say and what they do.

For this, it’s necessary to dedicate energy and time to getting to know ourselves, identifying our values and beliefs. In this way, we can identify which intimate relationships are good for us and which are not; when to maintain a link and when to distance ourselves.

There will be some people from whom we will not have the option of distancing ourselves. In these cases, it will be necessary to develop our ability to accept and feel grateful for the opportunity to learn from this relationship.

Nevertheless, when we are able to choose, maintaining good intimate relationships will give us the chance to receive and offer emotional support. This will provide us with security and a chance to rebuild ourselves whenever we’re feeling vulnerable, and it will increase our strength and self-confidence when the other party is facing a moment of vulnerability. 

And, clearly, we can share moments of extreme satisfaction and pleasure with those we love, allowing us to live a life of happiness.