Centrality: relationships you have with people. There are three measures of centrality: degree, closeness, eigenvector. Degree centrality is the number of relationships you have with people. Closeness is the measure of how close the relationships you have are. Eigenvector is the influence you have on people.
In the month of June for The Happiness Project Gretchen decides to focus on friendship. ( I know that I’ve skipped a few months but you’ll have to read the book to find those out. ) I have come to realize that friends and family are very important to me and they are a great source of joy. I know that this may not be true for everyone but lately I have had a growing appreciation for my friends and family. Most of the great memories that I have are from things that I did with my close friends and family. Gretchen decides that to make time for friends she needs to:
- Remember birthdays
- Be generous
- Show up
- Don’t gossip
- Make three new friends
I can remember birthdays via Facebook or other social networking so that is not something that I feel I need to do. However, I do need to work on being more generous, showing up and not gossiping.
“Give. Even when you know you can get nothing back.”
I do community service work with a group of peers who have become some of my best friends. When we work an event, it doesn’t really feel like work because everyone is having fun. We recently worked at a welcome back BBQ and I think that our smile and laughter brought happiness to other people and the kids that were participating in the event. I am trying to always ask people I know if they need help unloading their car, setting up things, etc. Giving to other people makes me happy because I know that even though I didn’t drastically impact their life, I may have brought a little happiness to their day or made them smile, and to me, that is worth it. Seeing people’s faces light up because I am there and helping them is an incredibly rewarding feeling. When I was younger, I didn’t fully understand the importance of being generous. I always heard people say “it’s better to give than to receive” but I never truly understood the feeling that you get when you help someone until now. I want to have a positive eigenvector on people. I also volunteer at an Easter Party in the spring. The organization that I am apart of puts together an Easter party with games, an Easter egg hunt and even an Easter bunny. They invite less fortunate families to the party and the kids can eat lunch, play games and hunt for Easter eggs. Last year I saw children running around and laughing, they were glowing and they were happy. I realized that I was a part of that. I helped them to be happy. I realized that I can have a lasting impact on someone’s life without even knowing it. Also because it is Thanksgiving, I want to give more than I receive and I think I am on the right path to make that happen.
“Eighty percent of success is showing up.”
I also want to show up to more things even if I don’t necessarily like to go to them. I have found that if I am anywhere with my true friends, I will always have a good time and make memories. Also if I show up for my friends, they will be there for me. When asked if I wanted to go somewhere, I usually said no and made up an excuse because I was shy and afraid. I am trying to say yes more often so that I can increase the closeness centrality of the relationships that I have. I also have a good memory and I like to focus on the good things that have happened in my life. I want to make more memories, and I believe that it is easier to make lasting memories with friends and family than it is with people yo hardly know or strangers.
“When another person makes you suffer, it is because he suffers deeply within himself, and his suffering is spilling over. He does not need punishment; he need help. That’s the message he is sending.”
I have had problems with gossiping in the past but I have put those behind me and come to the realization that what people say or think about me does not define me. It defines them and that they are unhappy with themselves. I also have to remind myself that my actions do not need to be explained to anyone. I don’t care what people think of me because I am going to do what I need to do and I am not going to gossip about other people along the way. To me, gossiping is a waste of time and energy because by gossiping, you are telling the person that they are worthy of your energy and your breath. I try to stop myself whenever I am about to gossip because it makes me feel bad about myself and I know that everyone has faults and everyone is vulnerable. Not gossiping also helps with the closeness centrality because the person can tell you things and trust that you won’t make them regret telling you.
Centrality is an important factor to happiness because while you can make yourself happy, sometimes you rely on others to make you happy, and you want them to be the right people. While degree centrality is important, I would rather have five close friends than fifty that I cannot trust. Eigenvector centrality is also important because you want to have a person associate you with positive things and the only way to do that is to have a positive influence on them. Closeness is essential because people who are close to you often make you the most happy and you need to have at least one person close to you to just talk about things. However, this is just one viewpoint on the subject of friendship and I know that there are many more.
Make lasting impressions on people and don’t forget to smile! 🙂