International Day of Friendship: The Holiday We All Need This Year

Happy International Day of Friendship, friends! 

It’s true, today’s holiday isn’t something that was just tossed together for cute social media posts declaring your love for those closest in your life. It’s a day which has been recognized for years (thank you, Hallmark!), but the International Day of Friendship was officially declared in 2011 by the United Nations as a day “with the idea that friendship between peoples, countries, cultures and individuals can inspire peace efforts and build bridges between communities.”

Preach on!

There is a saying that goes, “hard times reveal true friends,” and 2020 has surely shown us all our fair dose of hard times. From fear to illnesses, job loss to financial loss, loneliness to hopelessness, racism to injustice, no one has been immune to 2020 and what it has left in its wake. But as we continue to dig ourselves out of the ashes, there is one thing that elevates us all, that’s friendship.

While recently listening to my favorite podcast Armchair ExpertI heard Dax and Monica interview Lydia Denworth, a science journalist and author. Her book Friendship is a deep dive into the evolution and biology of social bonding. During the podcast, she discussed how friendship is as important to your health as diet and exercise, even impacting your mortality and longevity. See! So stop feeling guilty about those nights away from the family for ladies’ nights. It’s so important to cultivate and nurture your social relationships with others.

I consider myself truly blessed with the friends in my life. Born into a family where my only sibling was my brother, I have often said that my girlfriends were the sisters I never had, but that I handpicked to be the sisters I always wanted. I have amazingly beautiful friends in my life who have come to me in different places and stages. Each of these amazing women has burrowed into my chest and carved out a place in my heart that belongs to them always and forever.

They have seen me through it all. Some of them have known me since I was a child, others came to me in my adulthood. They’ve seen me through good times and bad. They’ve seen me grow into a woman, navigate life as a mother, and four and a half years ago when my Mom passed away unexpectedly, my people, my tribe  jumped into my sea of grief headfirst, sounding the alarms and providing the life rafts needed to help me get safely back to shore. That’s friendship.

Since we are not all in the same boat right now, but certainly in the same storm, we must do what we can to bring our boats together, to tether to each other and hang on with all that we have to support one another.

So what can you do today to reach out and thank those friends who have gotten you through these crazy days of 2020? Or is one of your friends in desperate need of you to reach out and be there for them? Here are a few simple ideas in these COVID days to connect with each other. This list was curated by my friends and me because you know, they’ll even support you through a brainstorming block.

  • Call up your long-distance friends, plug in your earbuds, and take a walk together and just catch up.
  • Write out a thoughtful card and send it snail mail style.
  • Organize a driveway visit.
  • Have a meal delivered to her and her family, who doesn’t love a night off from cooking?
  • Meet in a parking lot of a restaurant and share a meal in your cars while parked next to each other.
  • Decorate their driveway with sidewalk chalk as a surprise, writing out inspirational quotes, funny jokes, etc…
  • Do a surprise front door delivery of a bottle of wine, flowers from your garden, handmade gifts.
  • Bring back friendship bracelets! Purchase a beautiful one online or break out your thread and get to braiding!
  • Organize a night online (don’t worry, it’s not your average Zoom) and play trivia through Houseparty or my favorite game to play with friends, Quiplash.
  • Text them flashback photos of the two of you with funny memories or inside jokes because you know some of them are not social media appropriate!
  • In the spirit of the UN’s recognition of this International Day of Friendship, work together with your friend to find a cause to support.

There will come a day when we will all be able to come together again. I cannot even begin to imagine the hugs and celebrations that will ensue when that day comes. Until then, may we all stay connected, may we all build bridges, may we all be friends.

Born in Kansas City, Jamie spent age 8-18 in Columbia, MO yet always considered KC to be home. Jamie returned to Kansas City after high school to attend Avila University, where she earned her degree in Communication. After residing in South KC, Raymore, the Plaza, River Market and Overland Park, Jamie is now a proud (and permanent) resident of Lenexa. Jamie is wife to her love, Andy, and mom to the dream team; Lucy (10), Quinn (8) and Hazel (4). Jamie is the Events Director for Kansas City Mom Collective and loves creating fun and exciting ways to gather as a community, especially if a theme is involved! Jamie loves a good coffee shop, is a self-diagnosed Fall-aholic, loves Jazzercise, is a proud member of “The Read That Society” (a book club full of close friends that just celebrated its 12th anniversary), is an internet ordained minister, loves blasting Paul McCartney out of the minivan windows on a beautiful day and anxiously awaits the day that Joanna Gaines finally realizes they should be best friends.