The Science of Social Connection

 

Humans are social beings. We have a strong need to belong, which fosters social connections.

 

Research has shown that the happiest people have more close friends, strong family, and romantic connections and spend more time with people than alone. We savour moments we share with others more.

 

Some of our happiest moments are those that we share with others. One study showed that eating chocolate is more enjoyable when you get to share the experience with someone else.

 

 

 

One aspect of human social life is that we all engage in social comparisons: we evaluate our own abilities, salary, status, possessions and feelings relative to those of other people.

 

Is that person happier? More successful? Better looking? 

 

Social comparison theory suggests that we look at others to evaluate ourselves. Comparisons can happen either downward or upward.

 

When we look down at others who are worse off than ourselves, we feel good, but when we look up at others who are doing seemingly better we feel worse. 

 

Unfortunately, people are more likely to make upward rather than downward comparisons.

 

Social comparisons are especially important in times of social media. With all the benefits these can offer us, it’s also important to consider their cons.

Happier together

 

One interesting study looked at social connection while commuting to work (on a train or bus). Participants either had to have a conversation with someone or had to enjoy themselves alone or do whatever they usually do. People predicted that they would be happiest enjoying their alone time, followed by what they usually do, and would feel weird about having a conversation.

But people were wrong about their own happiness: the most positive experience was chatting to a stranger, and not solitude.

 

hiMoment wants to foster social connection rather than social comparison, so we let you share your moments with those people that made that moment special, but do not promote social sharing that may create upward comparisons and their negative consequences on us.

Research has also looked at social comparisons using Facebook.

 

Facebook feeds packed with posts from people that appear to be better made participants feel worse about themselves, resulting in lower self-evaluations and lower self-esteem.

 

That’s why at hiMoment, we are building an app that helps you focus on your own moments.

 

We recommend you limit your social media time and stop making yourself unhappy by comparing yourself to other people’s online personas.