Being around other people can make you happy
Human beings are a social species. Connecting with others is crucial, because that is how we learn about how the world works. That is how we accomplish tasks that require more effort than a single person could put in.
Because of the importance of our social interactions, it would make sense that engagement with other people would generally be satisfying and enjoyable for people. But, what kinds of interactions would make people happy? Is it enough just to be around people and to have casual conversations? Or is it important to be engaged in deep and meaningful conversations?
A prominent study by Matthias Mehl, Simine Vazire, Shannon Holleran, and Shelby Clark in 2010 suggested that the quality of interactions matters. They had college undergraduates walk around with a device that would randomly record the audio environment over the course of a 3-day period. After the undergrads removed any content they didn’t want other people to hear, the researchers analyzed how long each participant was in the presence of other people and whether they were having casual conversations or were talking about more substantive matters.