July 30, 2015

5 Ways to Genuinely Celebrate Your Friendships

By Amanda Fernandes, Project Happiness Regional Director, Caribbean

True friendship consists of a relationship that provides companionship, compassion, conversations, laughter, support and respect. It’s the epitome of Aristotle’s famed quote, “Friendship is a single soul living in two bodies” and many of us can instantly call to mind at least one person in our lives to whom this statement applies. It’s the person we want to have around for the good times and the bad, the one we know we can rely on no matter what.

“Friendship is a single soul living in two bodies.” – Aristotle

Friendship plays such an important role in the human experience that the United Nations has designated today as the International Day of Friendship. There are so many things you can do the celebrate, however we’re keeping it simple with these 5 genuine ways you can recognise and honour your friendships, both old and new.

Gratitude… Express It

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Reach out to the people who have proven to be true friends to you – those who have celebrated with you in your greatest moments and provided support through your toughest challenges. Express your appreciation for their presence in your life with a simple text message, an email or a phone call. Taking a few minutes to make that simple gesture will certainly brighten their day and it’s been proven that there are also a number of benefits for you to reap by showing gratitude!

Quality Time

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Make plans to spend quality time with a friend. You can meet over a cup of coffee, plan a beach lime, or just go for a short walk to catch up. You can even try having a technology free encounter to give yourselves the opportunity to truly connect with each other. The key is to ensure the environment is conducive to conversation that will allow you to share freely and genuinely plug into each other’s lives.

Long Lost Friend

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Many of us have that one long lost friend who we have lost touch with because of a big move, a change in jobs, or life just took you both in different directions. This International Day of Friendship, pay homage to these distant friends by reaching out, even if it is just a 5 minute phone call or a short text message. Even if you’re no longer as involved in each other’s lives, show them that you still care and that they hold a special place in your heart.

Give a Gift

shutterstock_150667202Acknowledge the value of your friendship by giving your closest friends meaningful gifts. These can be very cost effective since the aim is to present them with a thoughtful token that has sentimental value. Tap into your creative side and paint a friendship mug instead of purchasing one at Hallmark; revisit your childhood by weaving friendship bracelets; or revive memories with a photo collage. If cooking is your thing, maybe you can prepare their favourite meal or treat them to their favourite dessert. Whatever you choose to give, ensure that it comes from the heart.

The More the Merrier

shutterstock_234772477Many of us limit ourselves to a specific circle of friends because we feel as though they are the ones who know and understand us best. While it is perfectly natural to have our comfort zone, we must be mindful of others out there who can come to know and understand us just as well. So as you celebrate your existing friendships this year, also try making a new friend. This could mean getting to know a colleague on a more personal level over lunch or stopping to say more than just a quick “hi” to the person you cross paths with while walking around the savannah each day. Make the effort to have a meaningful connection with someone who you would not usually interact with and see where it takes you.

At the end of it all, this International Day of Friendship, make it your goal to show your friends that you care for them and value your friendship, but also open yourself up to the possibility of meeting new people who can eventually come to mean the world to you!