How the Network of Your Network Influences Your Happiness

I have already written about the theory of the 6 degrees of separation before and also to give thought to people who lift you up or pull you down.

A study by Harvard social scientist Dr. Nicholas Christakis and his political-science colleague James Fowler at the University of California at San Diego revealed that both aspects might have more impact than we thought.

The following parts comes from an article on the Time website.
“In their most recent paper, published in the British Medical Journal, Christakis and Fowler explored the emotional state of nearly 5,000 people and the more than 50,000 social ties they shared. At three points during the long study, all the participants answered a standard questionnaire to determine their happiness level, so that the scientists could track changes in emotional state. That led to their intriguing finding of just how contagious happiness can be: if a subject’s friend was happy, that subject was 15% more likely to be happy too; if that friend’s friend was happy, the original subject was 10% more likely to be so. Even if the subject’s friend’s friend’s friend–entirely unknown to the subject–was happy, the subject still got a 5.6% boost.

The happiness dividend is more powerful if two people not only know each other but also are equally fond of each other. Happiness is more infectious in mutual relationships (in which both people name the other as a friend) than in unreciprocated ones (in which only one is named).

They also found that environment didn’t have nearly the power that relationships did.”

The article covers more than only happiness, but it is very interesting to see what the impact of our second and third degree network on us is.

Have a great networking day !


Founder of Networking Coach and Speaker about Networking and Referrals


2 Responses to How the Network of Your Network Influences Your Happiness

  1. Gary Jacobs says:


    Thanks for the article reference – it’s always nice to see your ideas in print.

    These are pretty interesting stats. They remind me of an expression from a friend who spent quite a bit of time traveling in the military – “It isn’t where you are, it’s who you’re with”.

    The mood of those around you definitely influences your outlook. There are people who I would literally enjoy shoveling cow manure with (this is Texas after all). I know that I would have a really good time with them and that there would be lots of joking and laughter. There are others who I would dread going to a fine restaurant with because of their gloomy outlook.

    LinkedIn seems to be a great place to find those with a positive approach to life and problem solving.

    Gary Jacobs
    Dallas, Texas

  2. Gary,

    here in Belgium we don’t shovel much cow manure, but for the rest I definitely agree with you 🙂

    Have a great networking day !


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