The Atlantic

People Seek Out a Certain Kind of Person When They Are Happy

Your mood might have a big influence on the type of companionship you want.
Source: Ognen Teofilovski / Reuters

Heaps of research suggest that social relationships make people happier—but which relationships, specifically? A guilt-ridden afternoon with a mother-in-law might not have the same effect as drinks with a best friend. A “fair-weather friend” stands by your side only during good times.

Recently a group of researchers set out to determine whose company we actually seek out when we’re happy or unhappy. Their findings, published this month in the journal Psychological Science, suggest that when times are actually good, the people we turn to aren’t friends at all. They’re strangers.

The study’s authors

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