Getting by with a little help from our friends - International Day of Friendship 2018

When we listen to the news of the world we are constantly reminded of the unfortunate circumstances in which many people are living. These may include being subject to poverty, abuse or conflict zones, just to name a few. Sometimes social division may exist in local communities, which can result in people feeling like they don’t belong in their own community, or experiencing a sense of disconnect from each other.

The International Day of Friendship, which is celebrated on July 30, recognises the importance of humans connecting and supporting each other. The idea is that the path to greater harmony on a global level starts with achieving more harmony on an individual level; and the simplest form of this is friendship.

Humans are social creatures and it is important for us to feel bonded with others, and to be able to share life experiences. There are many benefits of having strong social connections; these include reducing loneliness (which has even been linked to living longer), supporting each other through rough times, and enriching our daily experience of life by showing kindness and generosity to others.

 

Here are a few ways to further value your friendships:

Slow down

Sometimes our fast paced lifestyles make us feel like we are too busy for social catch ups. Try to set aside time to meet with certain people or do different activities, and keep this as a priority in your schedule.

Look out for others

Consider people around you who may be vulnerable to feeling lonely or isolated. Attempt to check in with these people to see how they are going, include them in some social activities, or encourage them to branch out into their community.

Quality time

In this age of digital communication and social media, it can be easy to stay in touch with a text message or email, or via platforms like Facebook. We live in a time where we are more connected than ever before. Yet without ensuring we have enough face-to-face time to support one another and enjoy each other’s company, we can be left feeling more isolated.

 

Friendships are important bonds that help knit together the fabric of our society. Nourishing our social connectedness helps to build healthier more resilient individuals and stronger communities. These in turn help to promote more harmony worldwide.

- Nathalie Crawford