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A message from the Friendship Doctor on International Friendship Day

Published: July 30, 2022 | Last Updated: August 21, 2022 By | 6 Replies Continue Reading
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This post about International Friendship Day is reprinted from the archives of The Friendship Blog.

In 1935, the U.S. Congress proclaimed the first International Friendship Day. In 2011, the U.N. General Assembly proclaimed International Friendship Day stating that “friendship between peoples, countries, cultures, and individuals can inspire peace efforts and build bridges between communities.”

This year, Friendship Day is on July 30th, 2022. Having slogged through the pandemic, we realize the importance of friendship, social support, and bridge-building more than ever.

Unlike Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, or Christmas, holidays that have become highly commercialized, there are no expectations of gifts, cards, or flowers for International Friendship Day.

Most people probably haven’t heard of it, so if you choose you can act as if it is just another day. On the other hand, you can decide to set aside time to celebrate the friendships that enrich your life.

With the hectic pace of our lives, it’s too easy to take friendships, even very good ones, for granted. One idea: Take time out from a busy day and use this as an excuse to rethink and realign your friendship priorities.

It’s easy to get sucked into spending your time with a needy friend who constantly seeks out your companionship but consistently drains your energy, or with a toxic friend who is filled with ambivalence but conveniently lives next door.

Consciously choose the friends you want to spend time with and nurture the relationships that matter most.

Think about the friendships you really cherish and find a fitting way of your choice to celebrate the day:

1)  Say it in words. Call or write your friend a card, note or email telling the person just how much the friendship means to you.

2)  Remind your friend visually. Send a photo of a wonderful time you had together in the past and tell the person how happy it makes you feel that you’re still friends after all those years.

3)  Give the gift of time. Instead of continually saying, “We have to get together,” make concrete plans. Get out your electronic calendar or datebook and set a time when you can spend quality time together—even if it’s just over a cup of coffee.

4)  Plan a getaway or trip. Perhaps you’ve both been busy and haven’t seen each other for a while. Your lives have diverged yet you still feel like you’re kindred spirits. Make a relaxed spa date or commit to a weekend when you have uninterrupted time to make new memories.

5)  Weave your friend into the fabric of your life. If your friend is single and you’re married with children, invite the person to join one or more of your family traditions. If you think your friend might enjoy the company of another close friend of yours, introduce them to each other. Introduce your friend to your mother, sister, cousin or daughter.

6)  Suggest you both read the same book or watch the same TV series so you can talk about it afterward. It can be a great springboard for discussing feelings and values.

7)  If something has recently gotten in the way of your friendship and you believe you may have been at fault, don’t be too big to apologize. Get together and let her know you feel bad about what you said or did, and want to get over it.

It is a privilege for me to be able to respond to your questions and dilemmas about friendship on this blog. Sometimes, relationships are confusing — to me too! Like any advice columnist who hears a snippet of your problem, I may not always hit the mark but I hope that my posts give you some food for thought.

Happy Friendship Day,
The Friendship Doctor

The Friendship Doctor

The Friendship Doctor

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Comments (6)

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  1. Sheryl says:

    As always, your advice is well thought out and wise!

  2. Lauren says:

    Irene, Thanks for another wonderful, wise and insightful post of friendship in celebration of Friendship Day. Also, I love the bright, charming sketch of you on this page. Beautiful!

  3. Laura says:

    Happy Friendship Day, Irene! I’m proud to call you my friend! xox

  4. Sandra says:

    Great post, Dr. Irene, and I’m glad you reminded us about Friendship Day. I’m finding as the years go by that friendship is enhanced with small gestures, including little gifts and remembrances, or special notes like you mention in #1. It’s about mutual support and reciprocation — and the “gift of time” as you note in #2. As you have written, in today’s world it’s easy to outgrow friendships, which is why it’s important to work on them and keep them in good repair. Happy Friendship Day.

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