You know I like to read, right? Well, I was reading Skeptic magazine last week when I ran across this paragraph, which blew my mind:

Sonja Lyubomrisky is a social psychologist who has compiled extensive data on what makes people happy: expressing gratitude, cultivating optimism, avoiding overthinking and social comparison, practicing acts of kindness, nurturing social relationships, developing strategies for coping, learning to forgive, increasing flow experiences where one is absorbed in activity, savoring life’s joys, committing to your goals, practicing religion and taking care of your body through physical activity.

Read that again.

Do you go out of your way to make sure that each man who goes out with you has a positive experience? Do you make men feel good about themselves when they take you out?

It’s like a one-paragraph blueprint on how to be happy. I swear.

And if you filter this thru the prism of dating and relationships, you can see for yourself whether you’re doing your part to maximize your own happiness:

Cultivating optimism: Do you dread the entire dating process because it takes time and frustrates you? Do you take long breaks between dates and boyfriends because you just can’t handle another heartbreak? Do you believe the worst in men instead of the best in men?

Avoiding overthinking: Do you agonize about “what it means” when he calls/doesn’t call/texts/doesn’t text/says he loves you/doesn’t say he loves you/commits/doesn’t commit? Do you obsess about the status of a new relationship? Dissect his every move with your girlfriends? Worry about the future before there’s a present?

Avoiding social comparison: Are you concerned what other people will say about your partner? Do you think about what others will say about you if you remain single? Do you envy friends who have what you don’t?

Practicing acts of kindness: Do you go out of your way to make sure that each man who goes out with you has a positive experience? Do you make men feel good about themselves when they take you out?

We can go on, but this list is masterful. I would highly encourage you to look at each and every thing on it and ask yourself if you’re effectively practicing happiness.

Because if there’s one thing I know about happiness, it’s this:

If there’s one thing I know about happiness, it’s this:

People fall in love with happy people.

People fall in love with happy people.

I had one girlfriend dump me in 2004 because I wasn’t happy enough.

I’ve broken up with a number of women who, despite being attractive and intelligent, were fundamentally negative people who didn’t like their parents, their work, their friends, themselves, or, frankly, me.

My wife is a happy person. It’s probably her greatest characteristic, one that comes to her effortlessly.

She doesn’t need a promotion or a raise or a fancier car. She doesn’t care about status symbols or name-dropping. She’s largely apolitical. She has faith in a higher power but doesn’t fault those who don’t. She loves meeting new people, traveling, eating, drinking, laughing, and spending time with friends and family.

As long as we do those very basic things, she’s happy. And, as the saying goes, “Happy wife, happy life.”

Last year was the happiest year of my life for a number of reasons, but mostly because I was able to share it with the best person I know, a woman who makes me smile every day, a woman who has taught me more about kindness than everyone else I’ve ever met. Of course, I’m also talking about a woman I easily might have overlooked because she didn’t fit my paradigm of what I was looking for. I’ve shared this story with you 100 times before.

So please, take a look at that list and ask yourself if you’re a happy person and if you generally choose to date happy people.

You may not be able to make yourself happy if that’s not your disposition, but then, finding a partner who IS happy should be all the more imperative to you.