Social Wellness: Re-Connecting w/ a Best Friend.

Sorry for the late post! I will be back on a normal posting schedule tomorrow! I was busy traveling and catching up w/ my friend that I am staying with this week while I am on vacation.

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(My friend Marn and I w/ one of our favorite teachers senior year of high school. My sweet burns lines were courtesy of a tennis tournament the day before prom…)

I don’t do a lot of social wellness posts because, well, I’m not very strong in social wellness (I’m an introvert and socially awkward) and it isn’t a dimension of wellness that I feel particularly knowledgeable about. But I took advantage of some flying time this morning and was reading more of the Well Being book (read my thoughts on Career Well Being HERE). I was reading about social wellbeing and wanted to share, per usual some of the research that Gallup is doing (I swear I am not being sponsored by Gallup! They just do some interesting research!)

Some of the most interesting (to me) findings are that your social network, more than your family, have impacts, both positive and negative, on your social wellbeing. Being around people that have high wellbeing is more likely to increase your overall wellbeing and the same is true for people who are low in wellbeing. The people that you are around have an impact on your wellbeing. (I’m having flashbacks to my Org Psych class and my hero of all hero’s Ben Schneider…oh Ben, such an amazing researcher…I completely fan girled when I met him at SIOP San Diego. Ok, back to the actual blog.)

So why exactly is it important to know that people in your social networks can have an impact on you? Well, as Gallup found out, they have in impact on not only how happy you might be but also on your “habits, behaviors, and health” (pg. 35). Even more interesting…if you have friends that are smokers, Gallup found that you are 61% more likely to pick up the habit. Even more shocking is that even if you don’t surround yourself with friends that smoke, if one of your friends has a friend that smokes, you are almost 30% more likely to pick up the habit. The people that you are around to more than just boost your mood. They have the potential to have a last impact on your for years to come (I don’t think I really need to bring up any of the research that has been done on smoking…we all know it, right?)

The point of this little tid bit of information (there was more than just this brief research in the social wellbeing section) is to place an emphasis on making sure that your social circle is a positive one for you. I’m not here to tell you how to make your friends or how many friends you should have. I’m just here to pose some questions and help you figure out what is right for you. For me (keep in mind I’m a pretty strong introvert), I tend to be very cautious and careful with who I let into my life. Which means it sometimes takes me a long time to meet people and develop friendships (I can safely say it took me a good year when I moved to Kentucky to develop some strong friendships). Conversely, my friend is very extroverted and trusting of people and is very good at putting herself out there and she builds friendships faster. There are positives and negatives to both and it is trying to figure out what is right for you.

How healthy is your social circle?

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