Make Joy Treaties With the People In Your Life

Any two people, be they acquaintances, close friends, or romantic partners, can look at the same sunset and have two completely different experiences.  One person can be in absolute awe of how pristine the sunset is and find the experience of the sunset to be utterly joyful.  While the other person can be worried about the huge To-Do list that he or she feels urgency to accomplish.  This second person might find the experience of watching the sunset much less than joyful and almost downright frustrating.

While their experiences of watching the sunset are very different, these two people are both responsible for the quality of the interaction they have with one another as they watch the sunset.  They can either be kind and generous in their words to each other or they can complain and argue with one another

Each one of us is ultimately responsible for the degree of joy we feel or don’t feel at any given moment.  Yet in interactions, we work with whomever we happen to be interacting with to make the interaction more or less joyful.

When two people interact with each other, they each have the opportunity to shape the quality and feelings of that experience.  Complaining and arguing can become a major part of any two people’s interactions, almost to the point where it seems as if complaining and arguing is the agreed upon focus of the relationship.  This focus can be exhausting, hurtful and stressful, not to mention, that it’s not much fun.

Considering this I got to wondering, what would it be like if the vast majority of our interactions with people close to us were full of joy?

If we step back and think about it, isn’t this really the life we want for the people close to us and ourselves?

So towards this end, I’m beginning to make JOY TREATIES with my friends and family.  Whereas a peace treaty focuses the participants’ attention on choosing to create peace, a JOY TREATY focuses participants’ attention on choosing to create joy.  Isn’t this a fun idea?

Will a JOY TREATY with somebody guarantee that we never again complain and argue with him or her?  Of course not!  We are human so we want room to complain and argue when things are going really poorly.  But just as a compass can serve as a guide when we find ourselves lost in the woods, a JOY TREATY can serve as a guide when we find ourselves lost in complaining or arguing.

JOY TREATIES can make a difference.  Just think of how absolutely FUN it would be if the vast majority of the conversations you had were full of joy. (If the vast majority of your conversations are already filled with joy, definitely celebrate that.)  Can you imagine somebody asking you when the last time you argued or complained was and looking at him or her funny and saying, “It’s been so long, I honestly have no idea.”  How GREAT would that be?  How much FUN would that be?

Joy Treaty

{_NAME___} and {_NAME___} hereby freely and happily agree to endeavor to create joy in all of our interactions.

We acknowledge that at all times the choice to feel joyful or other than joyful is an individual choice, and that we are each ultimately responsible for feeling our own joy.

Within this understanding of our freedom to feel our own joy, we are creating the intention to have joy be what we are seeking in our interactions and in our shared experiences together. We are choosing to see the best in each other and bring out the best in each other, simply because it brings us so much joy.

This Joy Treaty can serve as a compass to guide us back towards joy when we find ourselves complaining or arguing. We acknowledge that there are countless emotions that come up in close relationships, both joyful and not so joyful. This Joy Treaty is not an agreement to fake joy regardless of how we are feeling. Rather, when we are feeling bad, frustrated or angry in our relationship, to authentically and gently share those feelings as a way of getting back on a path that leads to joy. To authentically share hard feelings takes courage and integrity, which is part of what makes the path of creating intentional joy a deeply rewarding path.

Joy is one of the highest emotions that we as humans can feel. Because it feels so good, we choose to find joy in our relationship as a way of living our lives more fully.

We hereby agree to abide by the goodness within this Joy Treaty.

Signature of Participant One


Signature of Participant Two


 Game of the Day

  1. Who do you want to make a JOY TREATY with?
  2. Print off the JOY TREATY above or compose you own.
  3. Show it to the person you want to make the JOY TREATY with.
  4. If they agree to it, have a JOY TREATY signing party.
  5. Enjoy the fruits of the JOY TREATY in your relationship.

Jason Freeman is a professional writer, and a one-of-a-kind public speaker.  He is the founder and CEO of Heroic Yes! Productions. Jason has an MFA in Poetry from the University of Nebraska.  He knows the pain of perceiving one’s life through a lens of limitation and also the thrill of moving beyond that mindset.  For more information on Jason’s powerful message, or to book him to present to your organization, go to