Friends Or Family?

If you think spending time with your family is the key to happiness, think again.

Southern Methodist University researchers find that people report higher levels of well-being while hanging out with their friends, compared to when they hang out with their romantic partner or children. In fact, being around their significant other predicted the lowest level of happiness among the three groups looked at by the scientists.

Study leader Nathan Hudson stresses, however, that the finding has more to do with the activity than the person it is shared with, because people tend to spend more of their time doing enjoyable activities with friends than they do with family members. Additionally people are more likely to find themselves doing unpleasant tasks, like chores or caretaking duties, with family members.

Hudson says, “It’s important to create opportunities for positive experiences with romantic partners and children—and to really mentally savor those positive times. In contrast, family relationships that involve nothing but chores, housework, and childcare likely won’t predict a lot of happiness.” (EurekAlert!