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11 Little Things That Make Us Happy
written by Sam Greenspan

This list subject feels like a Mitch Albom guest column for Oprah magazine, so I'm going to make sure to get a least one sophomoric joke about masturbation in here to keep my rawness.

This list comes from a study a few months ago where men ranked the little day-to-day things that make them the happiest. I liked the day-to-day aspect -- it means the list isn't filled up with the predictable "things that make me happy" answers like "birth of a child." BO-ring.

Here are 11 little day-to-day things that make us happy, ranked from smallest burst of happiness to largest burst of happiness.

  1. Your Facebook usage makes him very happy. You, somewhat less so.
    Catching up on social media, 3%. This came in dead last, with just three percent of the vote. But since the percentages in this survey add up to 184 percent, that suggests respondents could pick multiple answers -- or the survey was run by people who are incredibly bad at counting to 100. Either way, I'm guessing there were plenty of options that finished below this. I bet the cheap thrill of Facebook stalking beat out... I don't know... watching a dog play with a ball? Popping a loud pimple? Seeing someone fall and get minorly injured? Actually, if that last one had been a choice, it definitely would've made the top 11. Arguably top two.

  2. Getting a text, 5%. To me, this exemplifies fleeting happiness. You see a text come in. You have that Pavolvian response to immediately check. And in that moment between getting the text alert and reading the text, you're filled with all the hope and promise in the world. Then the text actually says something like "Hey" or "Explain what Snapchat is to me I don't get it" and you're back to being totally deflated.

  3. Hanging out with coworkers, 5%. Just remember this next time you outright dismiss your work friends as "real" friends. They make you slightly happier than Facebook, just as happy as your iPhone making a bloop sound, and ever so slightly less happy than cutting the rope.

  4. Getting a high score on an app, 8%. My phone app obsession du jour is Dice With Buddies. (Yes, it pulls off the rare exacta of ripping off both Yahtzee AND the "With Friends" series, but it's still outstanding.) And it really does make me momentarily happy repeatedly throughout the day. Smugly looking at the phone and thinking, "Eat that upper bonus, random Internet stranger" really keeps me shining.


  5. He seems like he'd really like to read the news.
    Sitting down to read the news, 11%. Do people really still do this? And if so, are you allowed to do it if you don't smoke a pipe, wear a cardigan sweater and bear more than a passing resemblance to James Coburn?

  6. A surprise dinner from/with significant other, 20%. I will say that two of the six or seven moments I've seen my girlfriend the happiest are the nights I've said, "You wanna go to Cheesecake Factory?"

  7. A good cup of coffee, 22%. As a non-coffee person, I can't fully identify with that Nescafe commercial sniff-and-satisfaction moment people seem to have with coffee. But I'm sure I involuntarily do something similar when I take a nice long pull out of a straw in a cup of good fountain Diet Coke. That's how I'll relate.

  8. Innocent flirting from a stranger, 26%. The ratio of men who hit on my girlfriend to women who hit on me is somewhere around 2,500-to-1. I mean, that's probably the ratio for most women versus most men -- except for, perhaps, beautiful men like Matt Lauer. Which means that EVERY time a woman does anything that even remotely resembles flirting with me I instantly relay it in full graphic detail to my girlfriend. That actually doubles the amount of happiness the innocent flirting brings me. And if she rolls her eyes, it triples it. If she'd ever seem even remotely jealous, it would quadruple it, but that day still hasn't come.


  9. I've actually watched Friends a little more lately. It's on 24 hours a day on various channels and fills me with '90s bliss.
    Hanging out with friends, 27%. This is such a generic answer. It's like when someone asks you what you'd do if you got a billion dollars and you say, "I'd buy my mom a house and donate to charity." Just remember that when you're in your new speedboat, talking on your diamond-encrusted cellphone to your new high-priced accountant, asking him how much of your new money he can reasonably hide in the Canary Islands.

  10. Buying yourself stuff online, 28%. My friends and I call these "micropurchases." That's when you buy yourself something off Amazon or eBay that costs between $5 and $20. They're the kind of things you order then kinda forget you ordered, so when you see the Amazon box arrive you say, "Wait... did I order something off Amazon?" And since their boxes are never the right size for the items inside, you don't even get a clue at what you're about to open. "Oh right, a new car charger and the season four of Damages on DVD." Anyway, yes, micropurchases do provide a tremendous amount of happiness. And since you forget about them, when you open them you're surprised again for a second round of happiness.

  11. Eating a good lunch, 29%. Our culture derives the most happiness from eating. While I believe it... it's clear people weren't being honest, or this never would've beat out masturbating. SEE. I told you I'd squeeze out a masturbation joke! BEAT OUT masturbating. So clever. So very clever. Take that, Tuesdays With Morrie.

This list was originally published on Thursday, January 10, 2013 at 11:00:00 AM under the category Personal.
It currently has View Comments.

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