What’s the secret of being a good buddy?

4 Jul 2022

Yesterday, the country in which I now live celebrated its independence from the country in which I used to live. And as my Californian friends fired up their 4th of July barbecue, they seemed to find it hilarious that they were hosting a Brit for dinner.

Hello, it’s Jon C. here, with huge thanks to Caroline for allowing me to drop into your inbox just for today, with a couple of pleas for your help.

Of course, if you were American in 1776, you couldn’t wait to declare your independence from Great Britain. Independence can certainly be a good thing, both for countries and individuals. However, for you and me there’s always the danger that freedom from others could slither into feelings of isolation, often a bad thing in terms of emotional well-being.

This week I’ll put the finishing touches to a proposal for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (the V.A.), the federal agency that supports over 17 million former members of the Armed Forces of the United States. For understandable reasons, many U.S. veterans struggle with mental health challenges, so my proposal suggests introducing a mood-tracking-based buddy system, where veterans can support and “be there” for each other.

We’ve seen just how effective this can be with Moodscope. Back in 2010, we charted the progress of 83 Moodscopers who’d recorded scores at least five times a week for six months. People without a buddy (someone who automatically receives a user’s daily scores so they can support them) experienced an average mood-lift of 19%, which is in itself great. But adding a buddy increased this improvement to 23%, which is both statistically significant and, frankly, exciting.

As Caroline and I exchanged transatlantic text messages, though, we realised we’ve never compiled a resource of tips for would-be (and existing) buddies. What makes a good buddy? We agreed a list might be useful for Moodscopers. I’d also love to include it in my V.A. proposal.

So if you’re buddying someone in Moodscope, are being buddied – or perhaps both – what two or three tips might you have for a positive experience? What works well for you? How would you advise someone new to the role to play it? Please let us know in the Comments, then we’ll compile and share a top tips list.

One quick caveat. We know that buddying is not for everyone. Some are uncomfortable with the very idea. But let’s stick to the positives today if possible, please.

I’m really looking forward to reading your reflections, as is Caroline. Perhaps today’s thread of comments will also be one that many Moodscopers will find helpful.

I said I had a couple of requests for your help. The second is that you might please complete a short, anonymous survey form for me. Its questions will allow me to compare responses to a new measure of emotional wellbeing with responses to another tried-and-tested questionnaire. Do answers to one test correlate with answers to the other? You’ll find both sets of questions combined in one online form here:


Thank you so much having me back today, and also I hope for participating.

One last thing. You’ll be pleased to hear that I reassured my American friends we really didn’t take their declaration personally.


A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

Moodscope members seek to support each other by sharing their experiences through this blog. Posts and comments on the blog are the personal views of Moodscope members, they are for informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice.

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