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International Day of Friendship

30th July is the International Day of Friendship. Take the opportunity to create or solidify meaningful connections.

It was proclaimed in 2011 by the United Nations General Assembly with the idea that friendship between peoples, countries, cultures, and individuals can inspire peace efforts to build bridges between communities.

The day is a great reminder that we need to tend to our friendships. Adult life is full of responsibilities, and often socialising feels like a “luxury” we don’t have time for. It can also be difficult to make new friendships or maintain current ones as an adult.

Good friends are good for your health. Adults with strong social connections have a reduced risk of significant health problems, including depression and high blood pressure. Research has even shown that older adults with meaningful relationships and social support are likely to live longer.

The key here is “good” friends. Quality of friendships is more important than quantity. Good friends can:

  • Give you a sense of belonging and purpose
  • Cheer your wins, and support you in difficult times
  • Improve your self-confidence
  • Encourage you to try new things, or explore new places
  • Give you honest and helpful advice
  • Have a feeling of connection because they understand you and your unique qualities.

This International Day of Friendship, plan a fun gathering with your friends (how long has it been since you’ve turned on the BBQ?), try an activity together you’ve never done (trapeze anyone?), or make a commitment for regular catch ups (like dog walking on Tuesdays after work).

If you would like more friends, try the following:

  • Touch base with people from your past. That may include colleagues, someone from a sports team, or a person you haven’t chatted to since school.
  • Look over your social media contacts. Reach out to someone you interact with regularly, but haven’t see in person for a long time.
  • Introduce yourself to your neighbours.
  • Connect with family members you don’t see as often as you like, like a cousin you only see at Christmas.
  • Attend community events in your local area, or join a group you share a hobby or interest with.
  • Volunteer. This might be for a charitable organisation, or it could be helping out at a sports club, or place of worship.
  • Take every opportunity. If you meet someone new, or someone you don’t see regularly, invite them to catch up again. Often we say, “we must make sure we see each other more”, but don’t do anything about it. Before you part ways, get a date in your diary.

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