Being happy isn’t always a thing. There are times when people are happy and others when the sense of happiness isn’t there. Indeed, happiness is an emotion that comes from someone being satisfied or fulfilled by something or someone.
When someone is happy, they would want to maintain that level of joy for a long time. Well, while this is something that can come from within, the people around you can have a huge impact on whether you remain happy or not. This brings the aspect of what to say to a happy person.
Express appropriate congratulations if you know why a person is happy. Keep your expression short and to the point. Make sure that you can not be perceived ironically or somehow cynical.
The words and statements you say to someone happy go a long way. It is important to take note that there are different situations of engagement and each one of them calls for different approaches.
In a Formal Event or Environment
Whenever you’re in a formal event or environment, it’s always advisable to maintain a high sense of decency. According to a 2017 study, the rules of communication in a formal environment are structured. 
This is because of the nature of the environment. It’s a place where you can’t entertain jokes or statements that are not aligned with the people you’re interacting with. In other words, it is a serious place. However, this doesn’t mean that people are not allowed to be happy.
People in formal environments are happy for various reasons. It could be because of achievement or progress. So, what should you say when someone is happy?
The bottom line is that you should approach such a person with respect and the words you say have to be decent enough. Also, it is important not to be sarcastic at this point. The words you utter should not leave room for interpretation.
Rather, they should be straightforward compliments that are easy to understand. For example, if you notice that your boss is happy in the morning after receiving an award, the words or statements you say to him should praise the recent achievement. You can also go ahead and honor him for the achievement.
You can say something like:
“Congratulations sir on your award. The company is proud of you.”
This is a straightforward accolade that doesn’t make the boss uncomfortable.
You should avoid informal statements that can offend someone. Something like “You must have taken a good breakfast to be this happy” should not come up in a formal environment. Whereas you might be genuine with your statement in response to the happy feeling of your boss, it isn’t the right statement at all.
Make sure that you’re within the required boundaries as you talk to someone in a formal setting. If you do it right, you’ll increase their level of happiness. However, if you don’t approach them right, you’ll end up deflating their happiness levels.
In a Casual Gathering
This is the opposite of a formal environment. The rules of communication in an informal setting are not as stringent as those in a formal environment. Here, you’re meeting with your peers or family members. You don’t have to be so strict when communicating with your friends.
When you see someone who is happy in an informal setting, it’s most likely that you’ll approach them to have a conversation. Normally, the first thing you do when you approach a person is to greet them. After greeting the person, you can go ahead and respond to their condition by complimenting them or asking a few questions.
If you know the reason why a person is happy, you can casually point at the issue. For example, if your friend is happy for having gotten married, you can engage him at that level.
You can say something like:
“I can see that marriage is beautiful for you. I’m very happy for you.“
Since this is someone you know, it won’t be an awkward situation to say such words. It is a casual way of telling the person that you know the place he is in at that particular moment. The person will understand why you are using such a statement.
In a casual situation, it is allowed to be personal with the person you’re talking to. However, the conversation has to be sensitive enough not to hurt the feelings of the person.
If you assess the situation and the person you’re talking to, you should be able to tell the extent of your casualness.
There is also a situation where you see someone you know happy but you have no idea why he is happy. In such a case, you should engage him without being very direct. For example, you can ask him a few questions just to set the pace for the conversation ahead.
You can ask questions like:
“You look so happy, what are we celebrating?”
Also, you can make a statement like:
“Today is a great day for you”
The question and statement will do enough to create the much-needed pace to converse with the person. It’s important to take note that though it’s a casual environment, you still have to be respectful. A 2019 article by Harvard Business School asserts that being polite is a universal rule for meaningful conversations. 
Talking to a Stranger
When you meet a happy stranger, you’ll likely be attracted and perhaps engage in a conversation. Since this is a person you’ve never met before, you don’t know how the reaction will be. But, if you talk with respect, you’ll more likely get a positive response.
The courteous thing to do in this situation is to greet the person before engaging in any deep conversation. This shows that you’re a welcoming person and you’re interested in what the stranger has to say.
Once you’ve greeted the person, you can go ahead and indicate that you’re impressed by a particular thing. For example, you can say that you’ve been impressed by the smiley face or positive composure. This is enough to spark a conversation because the stranger will receive you positively. Again, remember to remain respectful throughout the conversation.
Sophie Hammond is a journalist, psychologist, and freelance speechwriter for people in politics and business. She lives on the edge of the Rocky Mountains with her dog and a lifetime supply of books. When she’s not writing, she can be found wandering through nature or journaling at a coffee shop.