Popular people live longer.
As social animals, the number of friends predetermines our well-being, all the way down to modifying our DNA.
Loners may pass away sooner, but it’s not a matter of popularity. The number of people we know means nothing if they don’t actually like us back. There’s return on relationships.
Think back to high school: were you amiable or sworn to attention?
The same question applies to our behavior online. It’s rare to have both status — millions of followers — and likability. And the difference between the two is subtle.
Explains UNC psychology professor and author of the forthcoming book Popular: The Power of Likability in a Status-Obsessed World:
“Likability is markedly different from status — an ultimately less satisfying form of popularity that reflects visibility, influence, power, and prestige. Status can be quantified by social media followers; likability cannot.”
Trump has thirty million Twitter followers, a majority of which follow him to see what the lightning rod of criticism says next. Both the attention and scorn make him miserable. If you’re looking for happiness in the credibility of numbers, social media may be the wrong game to play.
Happiness is tied to likeability, not our number of followers. If we want to extend our lives, it pays to be both well-known and well-liked. Hint: try to be nice to people, share upfront, and don’t be surprised if they remember your name.
Write your way to the life you want.
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