#342 The Science of Building Better Relationships | Marissa King

Ten Percent Happier
April 28, 2021
#342 The Science of Building Better Relationships | Marissa King
Ten Percent Happier with Dan Harris

The idea of networking can be fraught. For some people, it might, at times, seem either icky or pathetic to deliberately try to make friends, either in a personal or professional context -- especially since so many of us may be feeling a bit socially awkward anyway, after months of Covid restrictions. However, my guest today will argue that there are profound health benefits to building positive relationships, and she has advice about how to actually do it, based on neuroscience and psychology. Marissa King is a Professor of Organizational Behavior at the Yale School of Management, where she studies social networks, social influence, and team dynamics. She is also the author of a recently-released book, called Social Chemistry: Decoding the Patterns of Human Connection. In this conversation, we talk about: how your social networks impact your mental health; how, when it comes to social networks, quality and structure are more important than quantity; why you’re not as bad at being social as you may think; the importance of humor; how status and privilege play into networking; the benefits of calling up old friends you haven’t spoken to in a while; and she will ask you to consider whether you are a convener, broker, or expansionist.

This is actually part two of a two part series that we're running this week about the hard science and soft skills of social connection. If you missed it on Monday, we had an amazing interview with a researcher named Barbara Fredrickson from UNC Chapel Hill. She has a lot of fascinating things to say about what love actually is and takes a pretty broad view of the concept of love. You don't have to listen to that in order to understand this episode, but I think they work great in concert. 

One more item of business, and it is an invitation for you to participate in this show. In June, we’ll be launching a special series of podcast episodes focusing on anxiety, something I’m sure we’re all too familiar with. In this series, you’ll become intimately familiar with the mechanics of anxiety: how and why it shows up and what you may be doing to feed it. 

And this is where you come in. We’d love to hear from you with your questions about anxiety that experts will answer during our anxiety series on the podcast. So whether you’re struggling with social anxiety, anxiety about re-entering the world post-Covid, or have any other questions about anxiety - we want to hear from you. To submit a question or share a reflection call (646) 883-8326 and leave us a voicemail. If you’re outside the United States, you can email us a voice memo file in mp3 format to listener@tenpercent.com. The deadline for submissions is Wednesday, May 12th. 

And if you don't already have the Ten Percent Happier app, download it for free wherever you get your apps or by clicking here.

Where to find Marissa King online: 


Marissa King at Yale

Marissa on Twitter 

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