What is your idea of a good friend? Many would say she is someone who is there for you during tough times. Psychology Today reports a Gallup World Poll finding that having such a friend was the strongest predictor of happiness in the workplace.[1] But the PT article goes on to say that, when friends are there for each other in the good times, when one listens to and celebrates the other’s success stories, both lead happier lives.

“The process of discussing a positive experience with a responsive listener actually changes the memory of the event.”[2] The one who relates the event not only remembers it as even more positive, but also remembers it better and longer.

Surprisingly, the friend who listens and celebrates the other’s success also feels happier, just as we feel happier when we give a gift than when we receive one. Magnanimity of all sorts leads to happiness.

What does this have to do with persuasion or building consensus? The positive attitude we ourselves gain when we celebrate another’s success without jealousy helps us maintain a positive attitude. And as I wrote a few weeks ago, a positive attitude boosts our success in all sorts of dealings with others. [3]

During the next week, look for an opportunity to listen well to someone’s tale of good fortune. Ask for details. Celebrate with them. Then let me know how you feel afterward.

[1] Todd B. Kashdan and Robert Biswas-Diener, “What Happy People Do Differently: The Unjealous Friend, Psychology Today, Aug. 2013, p. 56

[2] Ibid.