Be the Best Friend Ever: Celebrate World Friendship Day With These 5 Ways to Reach out and Reach in

By Paige Reist | Posted: July 30, 2018

Whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, whether you have a close-knit circle of a few select pals or a wide, casual social group, whether you love your alone time or crave the company of others, we all need friends. Humans are built for relationships. Familial and romantic ones, yes, but platonic relationships, too. Friendship is intimately tied to our happiness, well-being, and development.

We live in a lonely time in history. Even though it’s easier than ever to connect with people on a surface level, studies show that social media use is no replacement for face-to-face social interaction, and can actually lead to increased feelings of loneliness and isolation. Not only are we plagued with FOMO, or the fear of missing out, but everyone else’s life can seem so much better than ours, which can lead us to depression and low self-esteem. Both of which, it turns out, can further isolate us.

Our ancestors survived not only because of their intelligence, but because they relied on one another. There is ample evidence that early humans were a compassionate bunch, who cared for their elderly, ill, and disabled, just as we do today. Regardless of an individual’s ability to contribute food, protection, or other resources for their social group, they were cherished and included. They had friends, simply because it’s in our nature to love each other.

It’s said that we have two families: the one we’re born into, and the one we choose for ourselves. Your friends are your chosen ones. They’re the people who form an essential section of your web of support, give you a sense of belonging, give you a safe space to be yourself. Friendship isn’t just a psychological need, but a physical one, too. Your health is greatly impacted by your social life--how often you have the chance to laugh, to cry, to have fun, and to demonstrate your care for others.

World Friendship Day takes place on July 30th, and we think it’s a fantastic opportunity to celebrate every special friendship in your life, from your long-lost childhood playmates to your favourite coworker. Here are five ways to get into the spirit.

1. Reach out

Do you have someone on your mind that you haven’t spoken to in a while? When was the last time you reached out to an old friend? Instead of simply trading likes on social media, give an old friend you haven’t spoken to in a while a call, or send them a text or an email, and ask them out for a cup of coffee. It’s always great to reconnect, and reminiscing about the shared antics of your past is shown to improve your outlook about the future, strengthen your sense of belonging, and make you feel less lonely.

For far too many people, loneliness is a sad reality of modern life. According to a 2017 study by the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness in Britain, more than nine million people in England alone often or always feel lonely. This prompted Prime Minister Theresa May to appoint a minister for loneliness, in order to confront this challenge and to take action to address the loneliness epidemic.

This World Friendship Day, take an initiative to make new friends. People are waiting for you to reach out to them, so embody the change you crave, and let the magic of friendship unfold.

Share your experience with us, and inspire others at the same time. Take a picture of you with your new friend, post it on your social media, and tag us using #CelebratingWorldFriendshipDay.

2. Mend what was torn

No matter how hard we try to be good people, sometimes our actions hurt others. We all have friendships that might have ended in an argument, or feelings hurt that were left unresolved. Whether this rift was caused by an event, a misunderstanding, or even a deliberate action, Reach out to a relationship that’s gone sour. Apologize for your part, and forgive those who’ve wronged you. Forgiveness is actually beneficial for your physical health too, lowering your levels of stress and anxiety and increasing your life satisfaction.

3. Be a good neighbor

Do you know your neighbor’s names? When was the last time you lent a hand, brought over baking, watched their kids while they ran out for groceries, took care of their pets while they were on vacation, mowed their lawn, or shoveled the show in their driveway without asking? We tend to live in the isolated little pockets of our individual households, but fostering community relationships is important. When the city that I live in was struck by a huge flood in 2013, I was amazed by how my neighbors all came together to evacuate those in the danger zone, take care of each other, and clean up the city. I’ve witnessed a big surge in neighborly behavior since then. But you don’t have to wait for a natural disaster to check up on the people who live around you! Host a block party or BBQ and get to know your neighbors, and besides feeling like an important part of your community, you might even make a few new close friends, too.

4. Be a friend to others

Right now, the world is experiencing some growing pains. Through the interconnectedness of the internet and the ease of travel, people around the world are becoming more exposed to people from different backgrounds and lifestyles than their own. Unfortunately, this can be scary for many people. Our ancestors were biologically programmed to be fearful and cautious of things and people we didn’t know or understand, but we live in a beautiful, complex world, and we can learn so much from each other. The more we expose ourselves to languages, cultures, perspectives, and stories that are different than our own, the more comfortable we become with diversity, and instead of fear, hatred, and xenophobia, we create a global community based on the principles of love, understanding, and friendship. Go outside your comfort zone and listen to the perspectives of those who are different from you!

5. Be a Friend to Yourself

Sometimes the person you can be hardest on is yourself. Not only by putting yourself down or pushing yourself too hard, but by not giving yourself the care and attention you need. Global spiritual master Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar says, “If we shake hands with our loneliness, we can experience ultimate bliss, but if we run away from our loneliness, we can fall into depression. Being alone can be a scary proposition, but learning how to be friends with yourself (and by yourself!) is one of the life skills that will serve your long-term happiness.

Be a friend to yourself by setting aside some alone time with stress-reducing, healthy activities like yoga, art, walking in nature, meditation, reading, or a nice, long bath. In order to be a good friend to others, you’ve got to take care of yourself first.

This World Friendship Day, reach out, reach within, and be a friend!

Paige Leigh Reist is a lifestyle writer and the blogger behind


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