Do you know that the celebration of Friendship Day was initiated by Joyce Hall, the founder of Hallmark Cards Inc. way back in 1919? It was initially intended to be a day to celebrate friendships by sending cards. Many criticized the idea saying it was a commercial gimmick to promote greeting cards. However, the tradition lived on and has been adopted not just in the United States, but all over the world.
The day it is celebrated was also controversial. While Joyce Hall intended celebrations to fall on the 2nd day of August, the date in the United States was afterward changed to every first Sunday of the month of August. In the United Nations, beginning April 2011, friendship day is celebrated on the 30th of July and labeled as International Friendship Day. Despite the disparity of dates, most countries still celebrate it on the first Sunday of August.
Celebrating Friendship Day was a no-brainer way back before the pandemic. But when COVID-19 spread havoc and created literal social distance between loved ones, everyone is forced to adjust. Here are a couple of tips on how to celebrate your friendships this International Friendship Day, proving that no pandemic can be an obstacle to appreciating each other!
Create an appreciation post on social media.
Although we know that our friendships extend way much more than what we display on social media, an appreciation post could still go a long way especially if your friend least expects you to do it! It can be a form of affirmation, whether written or spoken, and it can speak volumes to your friends. Even simple sentences starting with "I'm thankful for…", "I'm blessed to be…", or "I love how…" can brighten up your friends' day. The goal is to remind your friends that you have not forgotten them, and they are still in your thoughts despite the challenges the pandemic had imposed on everyone.
Surprise them with the perfect gift.
You do not have to send the gift yourself – you can ask your local courier to do it for you. The advent of technology has already allowed us to do shopping from our fingertips, so there is really no excuse not to appreciate your friends by giving inexpensive but meaningful gifts! This act becomes extra special if your friend's love language is gift-giving.
2. Lend a helping hand.
With quarantines and lockdowns everywhere, and vaccination rollouts still underway, going out of your comfort zone to help a friend can be challenging. But this can be accomplished in many forms! It can even be as simple as asking your friend what you can do for him or her today: perhaps through doing an outside chore for him or her, or helping them get an assignment done. The idea is simple: help someone out! And who knows, a little time spent on the phone is just what a friend needed today.
3. Make new friends.
Celebrate old friendships, and make room also for new friendships! If you are taking up online classes, for example, take some time to get to know people with the same interests as yours. It makes bonding easier and learning more fun! With the pandemic, we can never really tell what could happen the next day or the day after. A famous saying by Rabindranath Tagore goes: "Depth of friendship does not depend on the length of acquaintance." So, open up your heart for new friendships this Friendship Day.
4. Send out greeting cards.
Yes, this tradition still has its spark! Sending out greeting cards (or letters) gives an element of surprise and a vintage vibe to this social media, digitally driven world. This can be particularly special if your friend's love language is through words of affirmation. A simple but meaningful set of affirmative words can make your friend's day complete.
5. Organize a virtual party.
You can celebrate old friendships by scheduling a virtual party with them. You can have themes, dress-ups and ask them to prepare food and drinks in their homes. You can even play some games! This is especially fun if one of your main activities pre-pandemic is going out together.
6. Watch movies at the same time.
You can ask your friends to spend some time chilling and watching a specific movie, or you can also make do with party features of some movie apps like Netflix. This gets you and your friends on the same page (though you may be miles apart), and you can talk about the movie on your chatgroups for the rest of the evening! It gives you and your friends the usual sleepover/movie night feel, minus the actual interaction.
The pandemic may have brought a lot of activities to a standstill, but it is no reason not to celebrate our friends who have been with us through thick and thin.
One beneficial strategy on how to make this day more meaningful to you and your friends is first to analyze their love language. As you can see, the five love languages are helpful for romantic relationships and friendships! Try to remember your friendships and your times together, and you will have an idea of what to do best for him or her through love languages.
Do you have other ideas on how to celebrate the International Day of Friendship?