Sonja Lyubomirsky is a professor of psychology at the University of California, Riverside. Her research – on the possibility of lastingly increasing happiness– has been honored with a Science of Generosity grant, a John Templeton Foundation grant, a Templeton Positive Psychology Prize, and a grant from the National Institutes of Mental Health. Lyubomirsky’s 2008 book The How of Happiness has been translated into nineteen languages.
Sonja Lyubomirsky: “I can't be happy when I don't have a partner.” So, we grow up in a culture that's very couple-oriented and so people who don't find partners or don't find partners for a long time feel deviant, they feel discriminated against, they're not invited to parties... and so it could cause a lot of unhappiness.
I talk about the research that's actually been written a lot by Bella DePaulo, who's a researcher in this area, about how happy a lot of single people are. So, it turns out that there are many life-long singles; in fact, I believe half of the adults in the United States today are single. There are many life-long singles, especially women, who are very happy, who are no less happy than married or partnered peopled. They have – they tend to have a lot of friends, a dozen or more really deep friendships. I mean, can those of you who are married and have children, you know, can you say the same for yourself? Do you have a dozen really deep friendships that with whom you, you know, keep in touch with on a very regular basis?
Single people tend to be very close to their family members, you know, nieces, nephews, siblings, parents. And their friends are their own. You know, when you think about it when you're married and with children, a lot of your friends are not really chosen by you; they might be your partner's friends or they might be your kid's friends' parents, but when you're single you tend to choose your friends.
The bottom line is, I mean, what I like to highlight is that there are a lot single people who are very happy. And so if you have not found a partner or if you're not sure if you want to compromise or you want to live with someone else for the rest of your life, there's just a lot of hope for you out there from the science.
Directed / Produced by Jonathan Fowler & Elizabeth Rodd