298 Meaningful Conversations & Happiness

Based on research done Mehl, Matthias. R., Vazire, Simine., Holleran, Shannon. E., & Clark, C. Shelby., (2010) written by Bethany Wellman, M.S.

How do happy people spend their time and what do they talk about with others?

Psychologists examined 80 undergraduate students who wore an Electronically Activated Recorder that sound recorded 30 seconds every 13 minutes, daily, for four days. They coded each recording to determine if the participant was alone or talking with others and whether the conversation was meaningful or small-talk. Overall, 18% was small talk, 36% was meaningful conversation. Participants also completed surveys on life satisfaction and happiness, twice, three weeks apart.

Results indicated that those who had less alone time and more time talking with others were happier. The happiest participants spent 25% less time alone than did the unhappiest participants, and 70% more time talking with others. Furthermore, participants reporting greater life satisfaction had more meaningful conversations and less small talk. These findings suggest that having a social life brings about happiness; and greater life satisfaction was associated with conversations that are deep and meaningful, versus superficial

Throughout this season take a few extra moments to engage in meaningful conversation with your loved ones, spread happiness to them and create happiness in your own life!


Mehl, M. R., Vazire, S., Holleran, S. E., & Clark, S. (2010). Eavesdropping on Happiness: Well-being is Related to Having Less Small Talk and More Substantive Conversations. Psychological Science21(4), 539-541.

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