International Day of Friendship

I want to wish everyone Happy International Day of Friendship. Yes, this is a real celebratory day, which occurs every July 30th, and we should all participate. 

The United Nations designed this day to promote peace, happiness and unity. The essence of the effort is that occasionally we focus too much on our differences rather than our similarities. It should be the other way around.

We all have a story about this. How many times might we have had a stereotypical view of a person or group — if we’re really honest about it — based on color, creed, occupation, gender, sexual orientation or nothing more than appearance? And then we meet one person who dismantles whatever that incorrect or prejudicial view might be. And that association or friendship, even if it’s fleeting, demonstrates our commonality more than any differences. 

That first step is reaching out to just one person. Under normal circumstances, I would suggest not allowing the day to end until you set up a coffee or lunch with someone that you feel the need to know better. Take an even longer leap by making that appointment with some different from you where the relationship hasn’t been that warm. Make it more cordial. In short, make an effort to create a new friend today or renew a friendship that has dimmed.

Unfortunately, the coronavirus epidemic has momentarily changed our social contact behavior.  But you still might be able to do it with social distancing, with options ranging from the telephone, zooming, email and social media. The medium is far less important than the intent and effort.

Most of the major news networks end their daily broadcast with a “feel good” story about an individual making an effort to help someone, often individuals they don’t know. It’s not, I would like to believe, just another ploy for ratings, but because it is the other side of our character and, as I see it, the better side of the human experience. And that common touch or reaching out is one that we sometimes forget in the daily torrent of uncomfortable news.

Is all this effort to reach out and make friends laced with a touch of  idealism? It is. And to borrow from a phrase, a day without idealism is like a day without sunshine. Reach out to a friend today.

That’s my take, what’s yours?

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