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An 85-year Harvard study on the key to happiness could spell trouble for introverts—unless you know these 2 tricks

By | Natasha Piñon |

Forget money, a successful career or exercise: The No. 1 key to happiness comes down to positive relationships, according to an 85-year study from Harvard researchers

That’s great news for anyone ready to ditch their gym membership — but for introverts, the news might feel like a mixed bag. 

From cocktail mixers to out-loud brainstorming sessions, the business world can feel stacked in favor of extroverts, particularly when it comes to forming the kind of bonds that lead to happiness.

But you don’t need to panic. The path toward developing rewarding relationships may simply look different for introverts and extroverts, said Mary Shapiro, adjunct faculty at the Simmons University School of Business in Boston, who teaches about the benefits of introverted leaders.

When introverts find happiness in positive relationships, they probably get that value from a smaller number of “deeper, longer term, slower-starting” connections, Shapiro told CNBC Make It.

The trick is knowing how to start, build and sustain those relationships — and it’s easier if you know a few key tricks, Shapiro said.

Identify your strengths

Step one: Recognize what you bring to the table. 

Introverts often have underappreciated leadership skills, such as deep thinking or attentiveness. Forming stronger relationships starts with identifying and developing those natural traits, since that will help others appreciate your unique strengths, Shapiro said.

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