Celebrating International Friendship Day

July 25, 2021

As we approach International Friendship Day on 30 July, it’s important to think about the value of true friendships. What does it mean to be a friend and to have a friend? Real friendships, which include a lot of face-to-face time, are pretty scarce these days. It’s vital to remember the importance and value of friends.

What does it mean to be a friend?

Friendships may be easy to build, but they can also crumble fairly fast if they aren’t created based on a few important elements. To create a lasting friendship, you both need to have respect for one another. Usually, people will invest in a friendship with someone if they have mutual interests. Other times, you might end up friends because you’ve known them a long time or have family connections – you’ve grown to love them. Whatever the case may be, being a friend involves a commitment and desire to make the friendship last.

Benefits of friendships

People who have friends are healthier and happier, according to researchers and medical professionals. Spending time with someone you value makes life easier, more full, and less lonely. Friendships also enrich your life in many other ways, such as:

  • Helping you feel like you belong
  • Boosting your confidence
  • Giving you someone to talk to when you’re going through a tough time
  • Encouraging you when things go wrong
  • Helping you make decisions or accomplish goals

In person friendships versus digital friends

Does anyone remember in person friendships? The times you spend with people interacting face-to-face mean so much. When you are in the presence of another person, it adds more value to the time you spend with them. You get caught up in the laughter, hear their voice, feel their touch and enjoy activities together. We are social beings and thrive and grow when interacting with others in person. Digital friendships can’t replace in person ones. However, more and more people are interacting on social media. Some research indicates that teens spend an average of 14.4 hours a week online, with 93% of that time going towards communicating with friends. Another report states that Australian teens between 15 and 17 are spending around 18 hours a week online. Whatever the actual number is, we know that it’s increasing. Digital use has jumped up 10% in Australia, and when young people are online, they are not spending that valuable in person time they need.

Compared to previous generations, young people are spending less time with friends — to their detriment. If you look back to the 1970s, you’ll see a time when more than half of older teens got together with friends just about every day. In 2017, this number had fallen to just under a third.

Not only was there a noticeable decrease in face-to-face interactions among teens, but loneliness increased simultaneously. Friendships need the physical interactions, warmth, and togetherness that come from interacting in person.

Commit to International Friendship Day

Celebrate International Friendship Day this year by making a commitment to put aside digital distractions and to meet up more with your friends in person. For many of us in lockdown that isn’t possible right now, but when restrictions lift – get out there and prioritise these import catchups. Take the time to be present in the experience when spending time with friends. You will gain from the many benefits of having in person friend time. You will feel happier and improve your overall emotional, mental, and physical wellbeing – guaranteed!

 

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