International Day of Friendship was designated by the United Nations General Assembly (U.N.). On July 30, we step back and get thankful for these relationships worldwide, as they promote and encourage peace, happiness, and unity. The U.N. encourages governments, community groups, and other organizations 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.
When is International Day of Friendship 2021?
Friends who are like family, good friends, and even frenemies are cherished on International Day of Friendship on July 30.
History of International Day of Friendship
We live in a tough world. Between miscommunications, mistreatment, lack of trust, discrimination, and cultural discord, prioritizing peace seemingly has less of a presence in the global society. There really is no reason for the world not to exist in some harmonious form. We have the United Nations to thank for helping to remind us all that there is some good in this world. We were first introduced to International Day of Friendship in 2011; this special day goes beyond connecting people and builds bridges among cultures, countries, and even ideologies.
Friendship and connections are synonymous with bonding, and building those common bonds goes beyond sharing a trait, characteristic, or favorite pastime with another person or group, but also includes promoting a global commitment and understanding of diversity and inclusion. Even in our differences, we can find common ground. Physical appearances, differences of opinions, political views, tastes, music, and more are not reasons to separate people. Relationships are bigger than that, and the UN works to promote kindness and togetherness every July.
Celebrating friendships through things as simple as a brief note, a coffee hang out, going to a concert, or taking a trip to the mall are all ways to find commonalities. Again, we have more in common than we all realize. And any idea that minimizes the amount of hatred and disdain spread throughout the world is the kind we want to be shared. We’d like to think that something we all have in common.
Before the U.N. made its designation, the very first World Friendship Day was proposed in 1958 by the World Friendship Crusade, which is an international civil organization that campaigns to foster peaceful culture through friendship.
International Day of Friendship timeline
The United States participates in an unofficial Friendship Day even before the U.N.’s official designation.
Greeting cards are introduced by Hallmark — to this day, many acknowledge their special relationships in the form of a card or note.
Paraguay is the first country to celebrate this day countrywide in July of this year.
The U.N. introduces the world to the International Day of Friendship, encouraging communities around the world to observe and honor the day.
International Day of Friendship Traditions
On International Day of Friendship, those friends who are there for us, call us out on our stubbornness, sacrifice their time for us when everyone else is busy adulting, show up in the middle of the night to cheer us up, and even our long-distance friends whose friendship has sustained across borders, are celebrated.
The meaning of friendship is different for everyone. And the bond of friendship also varies. People we have known for a long time may not be close to us, whereas, we may consider someone who we have only known for a short period of time as a best friend to us. This is why traditions and celebrations are different for everyone. There are low-key ways to celebrate the day like simply hanging out with friends and doing our ‘thing,’ or more elaborate ways like hosting parties, exchanging presents, and expressing how important they are in our lives. Another common tradition on International Day of Friendship is to reach out and reconnect with friends with whom we haven’t been in touch for a while.
International Day of Friendship By The Numbers
22% – the percentage of people who live longer if they have a close friendship network.
2 – the average number of best friends an adult has.
1994 – the year when the hit television show “Friends” first aired.
26% – the percentage of people who come into conflict with their friends over something posted online.
2 times – the likelihood of women with breast cancer dying if they don’t have a network of friends.
9 months – the age at which babies start recognizing friendships.
36% – the percentage of people who quit a habit if their friends quit it too.
7 times – the likelihood of a person being more productive at work if their close friend works there too.
10–25 – the number of hours a week young adults spend socializing.
57% – the percentage of teens who make a close friend online.
International Day of Friendship FAQs
Are there formal ways to observe or participate in International Day of Friendship?
It can be celebrated anywhere you are and however you choose to get involved. Just keep in mind the core principles of the day and celebrate away!
How can I make new friends on this day?
Try heading out to an event and allowing people to witness you being your authentic self. You might even be able to make a new connection through someone you already know.
Can I participate in International Day of Friendship in other countries?
Absolutely, technology is a great way to connect with other friends or cultural activities in other international communities! Do your research to find an activity that interests you, and connect away.
International Day of Friendship Activities
Meet a friend for lunch, dinner, or happy hour
Have friends you haven’t seen in a while? Or, perhaps some with whom you only do the same activities over and again. Why not change things up and plan a casual outing with friends for International Day of Friendship, to make new memories and share a few laughs.
Attend a community cultural celebration
Is there a community center near you that you’ve been meaning to check out but haven’t yet had the opportunity to do so? This is the perfect opportunity to be able to check out the schedule and attend any events hosted there, meet some new people, and learn about new cultures or lifestyles that already exist within blocks of your front door.
Send a greeting card
Hallmark introduced us to the concept of celebrating friendship, so why not send a note to a few of your friends on International Friendship Day to let them know how important they are to you?
5 Facts About The International Day Of Friendship That Will Blow Your Mind
Celebrating friendship started with Hallmark
When Hallmark introduced greeting cards to us in the 1930s, the idea of reaching out to someone to let them know that they crossed your mind or were worthy of a quick “hello” through the mail soon followed.
Being a better friend
Reflections are critical for growth, and growing a community that reflects who you want to be is so important — this is a great time to step back and reflect on those connections that already exist in your life.
All friendships start with a conversation — this is the perfect day to reconnect with old friends or open yourself to new connections.
Some countries have earlier celebrations
While July 30 is the day designated by the UN, there are some countries that choose to have earlier, extended celebrations in July, August, and/or April, such as: South America, Bangladesh, India, and Malaysia.
Anyone can celebrate
Learning to dispel hatred and be accepting of people with different backgrounds early is a great way to teach kids how to be accepting of others, be open to learning new things, and appreciating, as well as spreading, kindness is a great trait to instill early.
Why We Love International Day of Friendship
It’s a day committed to diversity, inclusion, and appreciation
Inclusivity is a huge part of the day. International Day of Friendship aims to include any and all, and embrace others that may appear different than us.
We get to spend time with the ones we love
Take this moment to be spontaneous with a kind note, or perhaps even heading out to lunch with friends to touch base as a way to celebrate. Most of us connect with people day in and day out, and we cannot think of a better way to commune than to be around those we see most often as a means to observe this day.
There are both big and small ways to celebrate your friendships
Beyond sending cards, you can give flowers or merely spend time with someone important to you. Time is all we have, and once it’s gone we never get it back.
International Day of Friendship dates