Face-to-face time makes us happier than Facebook

A Haitian family walks on a street in the town of Jeremi in Haiti January 7, 2007. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

SINGAPORE (Reuters Life!) - Nothing makes us happier than our families and loved ones, a new study shows, with face-to-face socializing beating reaching out to people online hands down.

The Happiness Barometer, conducted in 16 countries across the globe, was based on the Coca-Cola Happiness Index, which surveyed between 500 to 1,000 people per country.

Almost two-fifths, or 40 percent, of those surveyed said catching up with their loved ones after work was the happiest time of their day, while more than 20 percent said they were happiest when eating with their families.

By contrast, only 5 percent said they were happiest when connecting with friends online, and even less -- 2 percent -- said the first text message of the day made them joyful.

Families and partners were, by far, the biggest source of happiness for almost 80 percent of those surveyed, with friends coming up next at 15 percent.

“Despite our celebrity driven culture, fame is not likely in itself to be a primary source of happiness. Instead, real happiness depends on our connecting with people, especially through love and kindness,” the study said.

Hugs and food also made a lot of people happy, especially in Britain and Russia, where almost a third of people said they are likely to find comfort in a hug or seek it in food.

The countries surveyed were France, Italy, Spain, Britain, Belgium, Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey, Russia, South Africa, China, Philippines, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico and the United States.

Writing by Miral Fahmy; editing by Bill Tarrant