International Day of Friendship: Celebrating the Worth of Friends

Today is International Day of Friendship and we are celebrating how we can all be better friends – something we can all work harder for.

 We here at Youth Time believe that friendships are one of the most sublime and beautiful things in our lives. They can calm our rainy days, and brighter our sunny ones.

Therefore, we are once again celebrating the 30th July – International Day of Friendship, designated by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly.

Today, we appreciate all our friendships and encourage peace, happiness, and togetherness. We do not stand alone on this call.

The UN also encourages governments, community groups, and other organisations to coordinate activities and events that celebrate the friendships that we keep close to us. Many events focus on reconciliation, bridging understanding and consensus, and finding comfort in those friendships that feel like home.

In this piece, we will look at the background of this day, we will consult literature for the correlation between friendship and happiness in young adulthood, and also we will highlight ways we can promote peace and harmony – as a precondition for friendships and healthy relations.


A Brief History of International Day of Friendship

International Day of Friendship was first introduced in 2011; this special day goes beyond connecting people and builds bridges among cultures, countries, and even ideologies.

The original idea for a day of friendship came from Hallmark cards in the 1930s. Originally celebrated on 2nd August, the public largely viewed cynically the day as a money making exercise, sales of friendship day cards did not take off in Europe and by the mid-1940s the day had faded into obscurity in the USA. 

The idea of a day to honour friendship was, however, adopted by several countries in Asia, where it remained a popular custom to reserve a day for celebrating friendships and the exchange of gifts between friends.

Before the UN made its designation, the World Friendship Crusade, which is an international civil organisation that campaigns to foster peaceful culture through friendships, proposed the very first World Friendship Day in 1958.


Youth, Friendships and Happiness

Friendship and Happiness Among Young Adults summarises the literature that has been compiled over the years, assessing the association between friendship and happiness for young adults. It reviews empirical evidence that highlights friendship as a consistent and robust correlate of happiness among young adults.

Besides reviewing prominent indices of friendship (e.g. quantity, quality, satisfaction) that are often addressed within the literature, it touches on issues such as the degree to which friendship is important for one’s happiness.

For example, researchers have shown that, in some contexts, the contributions of friendship depend on variables, such as romantic relationship status or familial support. 

Thus, we present evidence that allows one to evaluate the relative importance of friendship for happiness, taking various other factors into account. 

The authors (namely: Meliksah Demir, Haley Orthel-Clark, Metin Özdemir, and Sevgi Bayram Özdemir), have provided a review of proposed future directions that may support continued growth of the field, allowing for a more enriched understanding of the link between friendship and happiness.

So, the question that naturally follows is: How important is friendship to happiness?

This review of the literature suggests that friendship is a consistent correlate of happiness among young adults.

The literature states that, yet, a few critical issues need to be presented and highlighted before making firm statements about the importance of friendship for happiness.

Nevertheless, it has been shown that friendship experiences (e.g., quality) explained additional variance in happiness above and beyond the influence of personality among young adults in Taiwan, Turkey, and the U.S. (Demir and Doğan impress; Demir and Weitekamp 2007; Lu 1999). 

Overall, these findings across cultures suggest that friendship is an important correlate of happiness among young adults; even when major correlates of happiness are considered.

Overall, these findings across cultures suggest that friendship is an important correlate of happiness among young adults; even when major correlates of happiness are taken into account.


Ways to Promote Peace

Youth Time always offers space for initiatives promoting peace and harmony between people. From this piece, and this piece also we have better understood why it is so crucial to be a platform and voice promoting peace and friendships in today’s world.

On this note, below, UN gives us a few actions to promote a culture of peace:

  • foster a culture of peace through education;
  • promote sustainable economic and social development;
  • promote respect for all human rights;
  • ensure equality between women and men;
  • foster democratic participation;
  • advance understanding, tolerance and solidarity;
  • support participatory communication and the free flow of information and knowledge;
  • promote international peace and security.

I usually avoid repeating myself in pieces, however this time, I will reaffirm last year’s call:

We can grow and change as we move along our unique paths. However, for today, celebrate your friends and all the bridges you have crossed together. 

In last year’s piece, we also looked at how we can celebrate friends, and how the COVID-19 pandemic has given a new meaning to friendships:

Read the complete piece: Happy International Day of Friendship!

Happy International Day of Friendship!

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