A sure sign of growing despondency is fractured relationships. Unhappier people may have more difficulty resolving issues or project immediate problems onto the future. They may not attempt to broaden friend circles and meet new people. And when relationships turn sour, this can reinforce feelings of discontent.
The happier people included in the General Social Survey spent more time with others in one way or another. That result echoes throughout the vast body of happiness research; consistently, those with the deepest and widest social connections report the highest levels of life satisfaction. For instance, surveys demonstrate that married people are generally happier than singles. Yet, happier folks may be more likely to get married in the first place.
Reaping the benefits of bonding with friends and family can happen through online social media as well. The Virtual Happiness Project, which is evaluating the relationship between happiness and online social networking, has so far found that building relationships via online platforms can boost happiness [source: Mollman].