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Happiness Project: Networking for Fun

May 27, 2016

I enjoy the way Gretchen Rubin slips research and statistics into her text, even though she doesn’t actually cite most of the sources.  In the May chapter on play, she refers to research that shows “that each common interest between people boosts the chances of a lasting relationship and also brings about a 2 percent increase in life satisfaction.”

In her case, she is referring specifically to her “kid lit” reading group, but I’ve found the same to be true in my overlapping circles. Moving to a new city at this point in our lives could have been daunting. We had (have) great friends back in North Carolina. While we moved to Nashville to be close to family (read: grandchildren), I also knew we needed a bigger circle.

Fortunately, I still have college friends living here, and picking back up has been such fun–and the circles have grown.  Here’s a “for instance”:

I have stayed in touch with my college roommate for decades. Yes, decades. She even looked after my daughter during her college years. As soon as she heard we might move to town, she had us lined up to join her supper club.  Within days of moving in, we had dinner with her and her husband and another couple. The other friend invited me to her book club. New circle of friends.  I invited them to a library reading. They invited other friends.

Meanwhile, another friend I met at my music camp five years ago moved to town about a week after I did. She’s helped me to find music circles, but we’ve also branched out to attend other literary events–and culinary experiences.

Tonight I attended a dinner at which I was the only woman who didn’t play tennis. I found myself thinking, “Well, maybe I could learn….” Then I found that one of my new acquaintances plays guitar and sings. Before long the whole kitchen was filled with harmony.

I’m not sure how to measure, but I suspect my life satisfaction increased by at least two percent.

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