The Power of Friends: Why You Should Make an Effort on International Day of Friendship - Geneva College, a Christian College in Pennsylvania (PA)

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July 30, 2020

The Power of Friends: Why You Should Make an Effort on International Day of Friendship

Holidays abound, to the point that we neglect some of the most meaningful occasions. Such is the case for July 30—the International Day of Friendship. On this special day, we celebrate the wonderful role friends play in our lives. This is a great opportunity to let our friends know how much they mean to us. In fact, the UN General Assembly references this occasion as vital for reflecting on the "importance of friendship as a noble and valuable sentiment in the lives of human beings around the world."

Why International Day of Friendship Matters

Friendships enrich our lives in ways that go beyond significant others and family members. An old adage reminds us that we can choose our friends and not our family members. While this saying reinforces the need to persevere when the going gets tough with family, it also provides a powerful reminder of the special nature of friendship.

Circumstances such as proximity may bring you and your best friends together, but you ultimately must choose to sustain and nurture each friendship. This effort continues over time, as even the strongest friendships can eventually fade.

It's no secret that friends provide a valuable means of support, but research verifies the importance of these relationships for our general health and wellbeing. The Harvard Study of Adult Development, in particular, highlights the necessity of strong engagement within the communities in which we reside. Study participants who maintained quality friendships throughout their lives were consistently happier and healthier than their counterparts with fewer relationships. Experts believe that such improvements in health and wellbeing could lead to longer lifespans among those with the strongest friendships.

While the role of friendship in maintaining optimal physical and mental health is worth considering, International Day of Friendship is more meaningful. It's all about celebrating the special connection we have with our best friends. Like birthdays and anniversaries, this occasion should be viewed as an opportunity to make others feel special.

How to Celebrate International Day of Friendship

You love your friends and want them to know it—but aren't quite sure how to demonstrate that you care. While simple gestures can make a difference, a little extra effort will go a long way towards strengthening your already wonderful bond with your closest friends. Keep the following options in mind as you plan the ultimate celebration of friendship:

Send a Card or Gift

Why limit gifts to birthdays or Christmas? Take advantage of this friendship-oriented holiday to offer a token of your appreciation. Stop by the store to find a card that reminds you of your friend or, better yet, make your own.

Gifts are also appreciated. In a pinch, a gift card to your local coffee shop or restaurant will do. If you can find an item that truly reflects your friend's interests and personality, however, that's even better.

Don't forget the power of handmade gifts. The most thoughtful items are often also the most appreciated, regardless of their dollar value. Aim for items that highlight the importance of your friendship. For example, your friend will cherish a scrapbook featuring pictures of the two of you having fun together. Photo-oriented gifts such as mugs and calendars are also highly valued. If you excel at a hobby such as quilting or baking, use it to create a homemade gift that your friend cannot find anywhere else.

Plan a Friend Date

You and your friend spend time together in groups, but when did you last truly dedicate time to nurturing your special relationship on a one-on-one basis? Why not celebrate International Day of Friendship with an outing involving an activity you both love?

Your friend date could be as simple as meeting up for coffee and chatting about your lives. If possible, however, put some effort into planning a memorable occasion. Organize a day trip to a local attraction or an evening at a show you've both wanted to attend. The opportunities are endless. Ideally, however, this outing will be tailored based on your friend's interests. Your plans should demonstrate that you pay attention and know your friend well.

Celebrate From Afar

It's easy to celebrate International Day of Friendship when your buddy resides nearby, but what if you currently live miles apart or otherwise struggle to make time to hang out? Think of this as your chance to reconnect. A simple phone call could make a world of difference—and it's certainly not the only option for keeping in touch. Possibilities abound in an age of Zoom and WhatsApp.

Whether you choose to call or schedule a videoconference, plan to set aside at least half an hour to catch up. This interaction shouldn't resemble obligatory small talk, but rather, should be treated as a special occasion. Ideally, you will hang up feeling just as connected as you would if you'd managed to spend time together in person.

To amp up the celebratory feel, consider adding unique elements such as a virtual happy hour or card game into the mix. If you typically dread talking on the phone or arranging video chats, these activities may make your interactions feel less forced or awkward.

International Day of Friendship, like your friends themselves, should not be neglected. Make the most of this important occasion to let your loved ones know that they matter. You'll never regret investing in the power of friendship.

If you’d like to learn more about professions that enable you to serve wholeheartedly and faithfully in your life’s work or want to learn more about a biblically-based, Christ-centered education at Geneva, we’d love to chat with you. For more information on how Geneva College can help you pursue your education and career goals, please phone us at 855-979-5563 or email admissions@geneva.edu.