Friendship Day

Medically reviewed by April Justice, LICSW
Updated March 23, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Friendships are special relationships that can offer both parties support, joy, affection, and companionship that can promote positivity in their lives. International Friendship Day is a holiday designed to encourage people to honor and appreciate their current and old friends. There are various days throughout the year when people might celebrate true friendship, but International Friendship Day, which takes place on July 30 each year, holds a unique significance. Let’s take a look at a few ideas.

Why is international friendship day celebrated?

Getty/Luis Alvarez
Celebrate friendship with the United Nations & World Friendship Crusade

International Friendship Day or World Friendship Day was founded officially in 2011 by the United Nations General Assembly. Per their website, it’s centered on “the idea that friendship between peoples, countries, cultures and individuals can inspire peace efforts and build bridges between communities”. 

Prior to 2011, International Day of Friendship had been celebrated informally for decades. Most notably, on International Friendship Day in 1997 UN Secretary General Kofi Annan named Winnie the Pooh the world’s ambassador of friendship. The bond of friendship at the United Nations reflects the greater goal of true world friendship.

Outside of the UN there are other friendship day holidays. The World Friendship Crusade, an international civil organization founded in Paraguay, also designates the July 30th date as a national holiday to celebrate. While the International Friendship Day date is the 30th of July, some regional communities also celebrate a day of friendship on the first Sunday of August, with many celebrating on Saturday as well. For example, in the United States and India, National Friends Day or National Friend Day is celebrated on the first Sunday of August.

Quality friendships can provide us with the crucial social support that we all need for our well-being and overall health. For example, one study found that those who say they have “people they can count on in times of trouble” are “consistently more likely to be satisfied with their personal health”. The study also points out the many potential negative health effects of loneliness, which include high blood pressure, heart disease, a weakened immune system, and depression, among others.

Different types of friendships

Friendships can be incredibly diverse. They may take many forms, and can transcend age gaps, gender, religion, culture, distance, and even language barriers.

Friendships involve a mutual understanding and common spirit of solidarity and may develop because two people have much in common. Friends may see each other daily or even live together, while others may go years without being in the same place—and friends that originally met online may never meet up in person. Considering some of the many different types of friendships that can be formed may help you appreciate the diversity of your own social connections or encourage you to build more friendships. Some common types of friendships include the following.

Childhood friendships

Childhood friendships are built during one’s formative years, typically with peers of the same or a similar age. These connections are often founded on having the same experiences, such as school or extracurriculars. Friendships can be a healthy part of childhood and adolescence, as they offer young people opportunities to build important relationship skills and connect with others outside of their families who understand what they’re going through at their age. Some people maintain their childhood friendships throughout their lives and become old friends, while others naturally lose touch with these friends over time after going in different life directions.

Adult friendships

Making friends as an adult can seem more difficult than making friends as a child. Busy schedules can make it harder to find time to spend together, meaning that these friendships typically take more intentionality and effort than childhood ones did. Additionally, adults are often more set in their personality traits and interests, whereas children are still figuring themselves out and may click more naturally with more potential new friends. However, having friends you can lean on throughout the challenges of adult life can be just as important as in any other stage, and these friendships can be meaningful whether they last months, decades, or a lifetime.

Family friendships

Some people also find friendship within their own families. It’s not uncommon for siblings or cousins to become close friends, for instance, and parents and adult children may transition into healthy friendships over time, too. Having the same life experiences and long history is common among families, which can be the foundation for a strong, friendly bond.

Online friendships

In the digital age, many people also find themselves making friends online. Some of these friendships may only ever be digital, while others may involve meeting up in person eventually. Regardless, these connections can be valuable. They’re often formed via social media networks, online groups, or forums dedicated to a particular interest, life experience, work industry, or hobby, which can form a foundation for a friendship. For those who wonder about how much benefit a person could get from a friendship that strictly takes place online, the research may surprise you. One study found that both online and in-person social support are associated with “lower levels of depression-related thoughts and feelings”, and that online friendships can be especially nourishing for those who lack sufficient in-person support.

Here are a few resources that discuss more about friendship:

What Is The Definition Of A Good Friend?

What Is True Friendship?

What Are The Best Friendship Quotes?

How To Be A Good Friend: A True Friend's Guide to Lasting Friendships

More articles about friendship to help you further appreciate the benefits of friendship day

Getty/Halfpoint Images

There’s no one way to celebrate your friendships, whether on July 30 or at any other time of year. The main goal of International Friendship Day is typically to simply show your friends that you care for and appreciate their friendship, which can take many different forms. If you’re looking for inspiration on how to celebrate Friendship Day, consider the ideas below.

Plan for quality time

Simply spending quality time with your friend can be a meaningful way to celebrate your friendship. You might arrange for the two of you to do your favorite activity together or to have a nice meal. You could revisit the place you first met and reminisce on the best moments of your friendship. You could even take a trip together or come up with another activity that allows you to enjoy each other’s company and make new memories.

Give a gift

Giving a gift is another simple way to show appreciation for your friends and may make your friend’s day. It doesn't have to be anything big or expensive; it could just be something you think your friend might enjoy. Bringing or sending them a handwritten note, some flowers, or their favorite dessert could go a long way in expressing your gratitude for their presence in your life.

Have a virtual gathering

For online friends or those who live far apart, you may hold events like a virtual friendly gathering to spend time together and celebrate your friendship. You could have a video chat to catch up about your lives and reminisce about the time you’ve spent with each other in the past. You could also play a game together online, watch a movie together virtually, or post photos on social media of some of your best memories with them.

Getty
Celebrate friendship with the United Nations & World Friendship Crusade

Make a new friend

Adding a new friendship to your life can be another way to celebrate International Friendship Day. To celebrate this international day, you might consider meeting new people through volunteering for a cause you’re passionate about, joining a hobby club or sports league, or getting to know friends of friends. 

How therapy can help you improve your relationships

In general, friendships require communication, compassion, and respect, as any other type of relationship does. If you’re looking to improve your skills in areas like these so you can improve your relationships, therapy is one method to try. For example, a therapist can help you build the confidence to meet new people, learn how to set boundaries in a relationship, and polish conflict-resolution skills so you can effectively deal with any challenges that may arise in your friendships. Education in these areas is critical for maintaining friendships. One study found that cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), in particular, can help individuals who are looking to improve the quality of their friendships. It reports that participants who underwent CBT reported increased empathy, reduced conflicts, improved trust and intimacy, and improved relationships overall after treatment. 

You can choose to connect with a therapist in person or online, depending on your preferences. Research suggests that the two can offer similar benefits in most cases. If you’re looking for a more cost-effective option, online therapy may be worth considering. With a virtual counseling platform like BetterHelp, you can get matched with a licensed therapist who you can meet with via phone, video call, and/or online chat from anywhere you have an internet connection, and for a cost that’s comparable to the co-pays of most insurance plans. Based on your location, therapist availability, and preferences, therapy at BetterHelp costs in the range of $65 to $90 per week (based on factors such as your location, referral source, preferences, therapist availability and any applicable discounts or promotions that might apply) to have sessions with a qualified therapist.
Regardless of the format you may choose, therapy can be one way to help you improve the relationships in your life.

Takeaway

Friendship Day is celebrated to honor and appreciate the special bond of friendship between individuals. Each year, the day is celebrated in various ways to express gratitude and love toward friends. If you’re looking for ways to celebrate International Friendship Day on July 30 or want to show appreciation to your friends year-round, the ideas listed above may be helpful. If you’re looking to improve your relationship skills, meeting with a therapist is one strategy to consider.

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