The science is definitive: People need people. When researchers followed the lives of more than 200 people for seven decades to discover the key to human flourishing, the study director summed up the essential takeaway from their reams of data like this: "Happiness is love. Full stop."
It's not only romantic love. Other research shows that loneliness will kill you as surely as 15 cigarettes a day; social disconnection has been implicated in America's rising suicide rate. And, as any business person will tell you, commerce runs on personal relationships too.
All that means that, if you want to be healthy, happy, and financially secure, the quality of your relationships matters. So how do you build better ones? Most of us don't need years of therapy, but a little expert advice certainly helps. According to a recent TED Ideas blog post, these TED talks deliver it.
Is 20 minutes too long to invest in healthier, happier, more rewarding relationships?
1. Researcher Brené Brown
There's a reason researcher and author Brené Brown's touching, funny TED Talk on vulnerability became a blockbuster viral hit. If you haven't seen it yet, it's a must view. It just might change your life.
2. Life coach Charnita Arora
"It's not just your laptop -- you probably have too many open browser tabs in your mind, too," says life coach Charnita Arora in this TED Talk. How much could you improve your relationships simply by showing up and paying attention?
3. MIT professor Sherry Turkle
4. Wharton professor Adam Grant
According to star Wharton professor Adam Grant, people can be divided into three types: givers, takers, and matchers. If you want to improve a particular relationship, it's good to know which type you're dealing with.
5. Wellness specialist Elizabeth Lesser
You spring clean your home. Do you devote as much time as regularly to cleaning up your relationships? You should, argues wellness specialist Elizabeth Lesser in this talk.
6. Best friends Caitlin Quattromani and Lauran Arledge
It is possible to still be friends with people on the opposite end of the political spectrum (really!). This pair of best friends from opposing political camps explain how.
7. Actress and activist Jane Fonda
You're never too old to schedule play dates, insists actress and activist Jane Fonda in this conversation with her Grace & Frankie costar Lily Tomlin.
Do you prefer reading your insights to watching them? Then check out the TED Idea blog's write-up of the essential takeaways from each of these talks.