“…Making a connection with men and women through humor, happiness and laughter not only helps you make new friends, but it actually is the means to establish a strong, meaningful connection to people.”

Last week, I had the honor and pleasure of having a written contribution posted on the popular personal growth blog, LifeOptimizer.org.

In the piece entitled, 7 Ways to use Humor to Make New Friends, the mission was simple: explain to readers how being positive, utilizing humor and embodying a lighthearted attitude are naturally attractive and can thus be the means to create new friendships with others.

Although the only goal of the blog post was to denote the simple ways that humor can help make new friends, the piece began to take a life of its own: as I reflected upon personal experiences of meeting and befriending new people, I quickly realized that the traits that comprise what we commonly understand to be a humorous, lighthearted attitude (positivity, happiness, openness, authenticity, humility, etc) are, in and of themselves, the means to forge genuine, meaningful and lasting connections to others:

There is something special and sacred amongst human beings when it comes to sharing happiness and positivity. When you share laughter and joy with others, they become happier themselves and desire to share more of the same with you in the future.

Humor is not only a great way to make friends because people are naturally attracted to positivity, happiness, and laughter; these simple methods that help bridge a social disconnect between people and overcome awkwardness with strangers further reveal that humor and happiness forge a subtle but powerfully meaningful connection to others.

Happiness and Sadness are Contagious

Utilizing humor is one simple way of inviting others to want to be around you, and thus, helps create new friendships. But, on another “deeper” level, the attitudes and emotions that comprise a typically “humorous” nature like positivity, happiness and openness help create meaningful connections to others that have the ability to last a lifetime: happiness and positivity tap into a greater, universal appreciation of life. The pursuit of happiness is a uniquely human characteristic; an unmistakable component of the human psyche and the human soul.

As more time progresses, growing scientific research is developing to corroborate what many men and women over history have long understood: human emotion, behavior, and feelings are contagious. We discussed this sensation months ago here on DaveUrsillo.com (see “Becoming a Conduit of Happiness“) and now even more research has been published to shed light on the contagious nature of human happiness and sadness:

“This is the first time this contagion has been measured in the way we think about traditional infectious disease,” said biophysicist Alison Hill of Harvard University. Data in the research in the July 7 Proceedings of the Royal Society comes from the Framingham Heart Study, a one-of-a-kind project which since 1948 has regularly collected social and medical information from thousands of people in Framingham, Massachusetts.

Earlier analyses found that a variety of habits and feelings, including obesity, loneliness, smoking and happiness appear to be contagious. In the spread of happiness, the researchers found clusters of “infected” and “uninfected” people, a pattern considered a “hallmark of the infectious process,” said Hill. “For happiness, clustering is what you expect from contagion rates. Whereas for sadness, the clusters were much larger than we’d expect. Something else is going on.”

As more and more scientific research is released to corroborate a long-understood, human appreciation and attraction to others who are happy, is it any question how humor and positivity attract new friends or forge lasting and meaningful connections?

Focus Not on Humor Alone, But All That Comprises It

When we intently and purposefully focus on using humor to forge quiet but meaningful connections with new people, the secondary or unintended effect is that we are subconsciously obliging the workings of our minds to become more positive: you will gradually become more positive in your thinking and behavior because a sense of humor is really just indicative of one’s personal happiness. Thus, you’re nurturing a more attractive and more “contagious” demeanor.

Just as we seek out happiness in our daily lives through fulfilling work, hobbies, personal interests and family life, so too do humans seek out and wish to be surrounded by happiness on an interpersonal level: happiness and sadness are contagious, and we all wish to catch the happy bug.

Humor helps forge friendships because we wish to surround ourselves with people who are happy. Therefore, our goal shouldn’t only be to use humor to make new friends, but to focus on all of the positive attitudes and emotions that comprise a humorous and lighthearted nature. By embodying happiness, positivity, lightheartedness, openness and humility, we nurture a stronger and more “contagious” state of being.