Honestly, if someone told me at the beginning of 2020 that one of the most important days to celebrate this year would be the International Day of Friendship, I may have thought they watched a few too many Hallmark movies leading into the holidays. Please don’t misunderstand, I relish and rely on friendship in every sense of its meaning in my life.  Thanks to the uncertainties and challenges presented during the first half of 2020, however, my hope for greater friendship in the world and within my personal community has grown exponentially.

Around the world, people are dealing with major friendship challenges including: social distancing and isolation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic; heightened racial discord and political partisanship in the US; and, global impatience between countries and cultures.  As a result, the need for us all to take a pause to contemplate and celebrate friendship is of greater importance.

When the United Nations (UN) proclaimed the International Day of Friendship in 2011, they did so with the idea that, “friendship between peoples, countries, cultures, and individuals can inspire peace efforts and build bridges between communities”. The UN considers friendship in its broadest definition and as “a shared spirit of human solidarity.” 

On this International Day of Friendship we have an opportunity to think about how we can increase our tolerance of differing points of views and cultures.  We can consider ways to reach out to our local and global communities with empathy and care to heal old and new wounds. Together, we can create positive momentum toward peace and mutual respect for the betterment of all.

Here are few ways we recommend you celebrate on this International Day of Friendship:

Reach out to friends near and far and let them know you are thinking of them. 

It’s amazing how quickly a simple text, email, or video call from a friend can elevate a person’s mood. 

Volunteer in your community to help a stranger in need. 

Whether you support your local food bank, deliver meals to seniors in need, or lend a hand to your neighbor, sharing kindness and love will leave you and your new friend feeling grateful.

Share and promote peace, tolerance, and equality.

At home, in your community, and across your social media channels celebrate and share friendship.  All of us at One Planet Life will do the same.  Join us on Instagram at #OPLFriendshipEveryday.