A 75-Year Harvard Study on Men Concludes this One Thing.

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The longest study on adult development and life satisfaction was recently completed at Harvard by Robert Waldinger and his team—they were tracking 700 men over the course of 75 years. 

This study is considered the most comprehensive study on human behavior ever done. Guess the one thing they learned…

So what does Robert conclude in the video?

“Warmth of relationships throughout life have the greatest positive impact on ‘life satisfaction.'”

Simple. Powerful. A no-brainer right?

Waldinger also said,

“…Over and over, over these 75 years, our study has shown that the people who fared the best were the people who leaned in to relationships, with family, with friends, with community.”

Another important conclusion was that without quality relationships we suffer more, don’t live as long and end up having more financial and health problems.

In other words, having good solid relationships is the key to a well-lived, fulfilling life and not having great relationships shortens our life and causes stress and illness.


But here’s my question: If relationship is the most important part of our lives, why then are there no classes in school teaching it?

Ever took a social skills class in school? How about an “intimacy 101 course?” What about a class on how to navigate conflict in a long term relationship or how not to blame others for your problems and instead take responsibility for them and do something about it?

If you haven’t, it’s probably because our education system is archaic and outdated. It’s time for a major change and it starts with us.

I want to challenge you to “lean-in” with someone you care deeply about (and might be taking for granted).

Pick your closest relationship, a friend or partner and say:

“I love you. I appreciate you. Thank you for being my friend. Having you in my life helps me in every way. I’m willing to work through hard stuff with you because I get that my relationships determine my life satisfaction.”

Don’t wanna play?

No problem. When we choose not to bring our respect and care to our relationships we choose to be another statistic of people who suffer more and don’t live as long.

It’s a choice.

And me? I got tired of complaining about the lack of relationship education so I decided to start my own school and teach the class you were never taught—Intimate Relationships. That way, whoever wants to can be more prepared for the intense and confronting nature of a long-term relationship. 

P.S.: This was a study on men. Can we assume the same results would be found studying women?



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Relephant video:

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Author: Jayson Gaddis

Image: Annie Spratt/Unsplash

Editors: Katarina Tavčar; Khara-Jade Warren

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Jayson Gaddis

Jayson Gaddis, founder of The Relationship School®
, and host of The Smart Couple Podcast , is on a mission to teach people the one class they didn’t get in school–”How to do intimate relationships.” He was emotionally constipated for years before relationship failure forced him to master relationships. In 2007 he stopped running away from intimacy, asked his wife to marry him and now they have two beautiful kids. When he doesn’t live and breathe this stuff with his family, he pretty much gets his ass handed to him. You can find him here: Jayson Gaddis or sign up for a free training here if you are dealing with an emotionally unavailable man like Jayson used to be. You can also become a fan on Facebook here: Jayson Gaddis Fan Page.

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Jay Kaplan Mar 6, 2017 4:43am

I disagree that this should be taught in schools. Where is the parents' responsibility to teach their children (and model) social skills? School is to learn the academic subjects. Kids are not even getting the basics of that right judging by the appalling spelling evident on just about every FB post that ever was. It should not be up to schools to teach children everything. If, as a parent you're not teaching your children how to be decent human beings, perhaps you really shouldn't have become a parent in the first place. Let's put the responsibility back where it belongs and also start challenging people's automatic right to have children based on their ability to conceive rather than their capacity to parent well. Pronatalism gone mad.

Donna Wright Mar 3, 2017 5:52am

How manY ads can you cram onto one page?

Diane Colonnello Dec 20, 2016 11:03pm

WWE need to do what Japan does the first three years of school are focused on social skills academics are not graded.

Kristina Scharp Oct 2, 2016 12:27am

Yes ... Interpersonal Communication! I'm an Assistant Professor and this is exactly what I teach students ... How to have productive conflict, how to build healthy relationships, how to support friends, and cope with distress, etc. Its a great field - check it out!

Digital Famous Media Aug 25, 2016 5:05pm

It's true that men need relationships in their lives, even if they won't admit it. It's not very masculine of a thing to do, even in this day and age, althought society is getting better. The use of social media has certainly helped spread the acceptance of it though.

Moira Blackmore Jul 9, 2016 1:41pm

Thank you, this is certainly worth looking into

Laura Hornby Kutney Jun 25, 2016 10:45pm

Jayson, good to hear that this is being studied and talked about more and more. It would seem to be commen sense to me, but with modern communities and work schedules as they are, I think a lot of the wisdom that was part of many cultures has fractured in one way or another. Many are living in societies with no friends in the neighborhood, at work, and in front of a computer for entertainment rather than with a friend or relative to talk to at home, etc. It is a lonely existance and the fact that is has gotten so bad that relationships are something that need to be taught is a bit shocking and alarming, but very true. Thank you for the insightful article. I will be sharing with a few men in my life that could benefit from your article. Thanks again and hope to see more articles like this! Laura Hornby Kutney

Lisa Neos Jun 17, 2016 7:01am

The impact of pornography on young people's mind set about relationships really needs to be understood and addressed through education programmes.I'm certain it makes one of the most significant impacts on intimate relationships.

Pierce Paynter Jun 16, 2016 3:25am

They really should require or offer a social skills class in high school at least. I did take a class in college that this artical very much reminds me of and it was called interpersonal communications. The class was almost exactly the same same class that you described.

Brett Tannahill Jun 15, 2016 5:02am

Excellent work Jayson...now for the challenge presented by young men coming through the ranks, as lost as ever due to lack of relationship at so many levels, not because there is no-one to have them with, but because they have little sense of what it entails...and the first one to start with is the relationship with self....but where they learn from, who they learn from and when they learn is becoming more and more problematic as the evolving western society removes itself from meaningful, face-to-face, energy-flowing relationships....more power to you and your teachings!

Atenea Acevedo Jun 14, 2016 3:49pm

All human beings, regardless of their sex-gender, benefit enormously from nurturing relationships, starting with the one they keep with themselves and extending to many others. The key question, I believe, would be why so many people still consider shutting out feelings as a desirable "masculine" quality and thus foster it from the earliest childhood. We keep on robbing bodies with penises of their freedom of expression, thus affecting their lives forever.

The Rite Journey with Andrew Lines Jun 13, 2016 4:51pm

As a teacher I was also frustrated about the lack of social skills and stepping up to responsibility taught in schools...so I created www.theritejourney.com Feel free to be in touch if you're interested in creating cultural change through the schooling system in your area.

Carey Be Jun 13, 2016 1:18pm

Thank you Jayson, ever more encouragment to open the heart and keep opening the heart