If you primarily use texting, Facebook, and other social media to stay in touch with friends, you’re not having meaningful contact—and chatting up the Starbucks barista every morning doesn’t count. “Facebook pages are entertainment,” Clay says. “These are not true conversations that allow us to understand people. Instead, it lessens our experiences and feelings.” Michael Mantell, PhD, a behavioral sciences coach based in San Diego, Calif., agrees. “Personal electronics (like smartphones) have also impacted attention, demands for immediate gratification, and expectations that the press of a button can lead to instantaneous connection,” Mantell says. “We have also learned to not have face-to-face connections, only virtual. This impacts our ability and interest in sitting in the same room with someone, and actually talk with people face-to-face.”
Get happy now: “At the end of or lives, the number of followers we have doesn’t matter,” Clay says. “But friends do.” Make sure to schedule a date with a friend, family member, or partner at least once week.