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Buy experiences instead of things when you are alone

Buy experiences instead of things when you are alone

That expensive sofa, that super-fast Tesla, or just a new pair of pants, you might think will make you very happy, but in reality they only last a short time. For a happily ever after, it’s best to purchase an annual subscription to Efteling. Not only does this make you happier, it also makes you less lonely.

In other words: buy experiences, not things, when you’re alone. Important advice, because up to one in three young people in the Netherlands feels lonely to some extent, and this feeling is strong for one in nine. More than half of people over the age of 75 feel lonely. Heavy numbers, especially since loneliness also has consequences for physical health, which, according to some scientists, are comparable to the damage that can be caused by obesity or smoking.

Buy social media
Amit Kumar, a marketing professor from Texas, has previously shown that traveling, attending concerts, and eating at restaurants are much more satisfying than a new car or nice clothes. Now he and his colleagues have investigated how experiences enhance feelings of social connectedness. “What this work shows is that we may actually be able to build social capital with what we buy,” Kumar says. “This can in turn lead to greater health and happiness.” This is really great, because you might also think that you feel lonely when you go on holiday alone, for example, and are surrounded by families and couples.

He attended the same party
With the help of psychologists from Harvard and Cornell He conducted seven experiments 1,400 participants were asked about their feeling of social connection after purchasing things or experiences.

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This has yielded a number of interesting ideas. For example, experiential purchases seem to lead to greater feelings of connection and kinship. Participants felt that they had become like others because of the experiences they had had. This effect was much less after purchasing material items. “You feel a much stronger sense of connection when you find out you just saw the same band in concert than you do when you hear that you have the same shoes as someone else,” Kumar says.

Identify yourself
The funny thing is that you might expect things to help define you: the size of your house, the brand of car you drive. But the opposite turned out to be true. Experiences are a much bigger part of your identity. This explains why these experiences make us feel more connected to like-minded people. “All our shopping habits are to some extent part of our identity and can connect us to other people,” says Kumar. “But this applies more often to experiences than to the material things we buy.”

And let’s say someone else buys a better version of what you’re buying, so let’s say you went hiking in the Pyrenees and your neighbor went to the Grand Canyon, you might feel jealous, but there’s still a greater feeling of connection than if he bought a bigger version of the car from you.

Even on your own
Kumar gives the example of two people attending the same football match, only one is hiding somewhere in the stands and the other is in the sky box. They will feel more connected than if they found out they were wearing the same shoes.

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You might think: Logically, you would normally have all those experiences with others, but even if you don’t, for example if you are alone and doing things alone, it increases your sense of connection, and not just with the people in your surroundings. environment but also with humanity in general. Even thinking about purchasing an experience increases social connectedness. Purchasing materials does not have this effect.

Commercial advantage
The results therefore leave nothing to be desired in terms of clarity: If you are single, it is better to invest in beautiful experiences than in beautiful things. Businesses that sell things can also benefit from this. They should emphasize the experiential aspects of their merchandise. “This is likely to increase consumers’ sense of belonging and improve satisfaction in the long term,” he says. “This can be important for things like customer retention and brand loyalty.”