The Social Contagion of Generosity

Generosity is not just an individual trait; 1 it can have a huge effect on our communities. I was excited to see that scientific studies are actually documenting how generous behavior creates and builds our relationships with others.

I’ve always thought of contagion as a bad thing: as in viruses, diseases, a plague. So an article about “The Social Contagion of Generosity” surprised me at first. But Nicholas Christakis, in Sociology at Yale, and James H. Fowler (Political Science at U.C. San Diego and author of Connected) released a study of how “some degree of generosity is crucial” for our social networks to emerge in the first place, and then to endure. In other words, cascading generous acts create relationships and spread throughout our interactions with one another, whether in-person or online.

How we steward, or manage, our relationships is an important part of living! So the results of this study are great news. They scientifically document the fact that generous attitudes and actions are essential to initiate and grow our relationships with one another. – And that helps us encourage great stewardship!

Your partner in ministry,

Betsy Schwarzentraub

1 – Generosity is not only a trait, anyway. Catch that topic in my upcoming book, Growing Generous Souls

See also: Contagious Generosity