Happiness and Communication

Happiness—the feeling of pleasure, enjoyment, contentment, joy, satisfaction—has an obvious connection with communication—at least once you think about it. And yet surprisingly little is written about this connection. For example, none of a very unrepresentative sample of interpersonal communication textbooks--my own Interpersonal Messages and The Interpersonal Communication Book, Verderber & Verderber’s Inter-Act, Adler, Proctor, & Towne’s Looking Out/Looking In, Adler, Rosenfeld, & Proctor’s Interplay, Knapp & Vangelisti’s Interpersonal Communication and Human Relationships, and even the 842 page Knapp and Daly Handbook of Interpersonal Communication—have the word “happiness” in the index. We need to do something about this neglect.
Here then is just a sampling of the communications that make us happy, purposely limited to an even ten and just intended to suggest ways of thinking about communication that many textbooks neglect.
1. Receiving a compliment, a word of praise, a “job well done” and, not surprisingly, paying a compliment to another
2. A warm smile and smiling yourself
3. Hearing or saying and meaning “thank you”
4. Having someone say “I’m so pleased to meet you” and knowing they mean it and saying it yourself when you mean it
5. Managing a conflict in a way that satisfies everyone and strengthens, rather than weakens, the relationship
6. Focused eye contact that says “I like you”
7. A hug, a pat on the back, a warm handshake
8. Being in a relationship where confirming behaviors are common and frequent
9. Exchanging cherishing behaviors
10. Talking among supportive friends


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