By Eustacia A. English, NRWA DEI Columnist
Andrew Gold wrote the lyrics for the Golden Girls television series, “Thank you for being a friend. Travel down the road and back again. Your heart is true. You're a pal and a confidant.” This theme song is befitting for this month's topic, the International Day of Friendship.
The United Nations General Assembly designated the International Day of Friendship in 2011. On July 30, we take a step back and give thanks for these connections around the world because they support and foster peace, joy, and harmony. The UN urges governments, community organizations, and other organizations to plan activities and events that honor the strong friendships that we cherish. Numerous gatherings emphasize making amends, building consensus and understanding, and finding solace in the bonds that make you feel at home.
On July 30, the world celebrates friendship by celebrating friends that feel like family, close pals, and even adversaries. This day is dedicated to respect, inclusivity, and diversity. With a heavy focus on inclusivity, the International Day of Friendship encourages us to accept those who may seem different from us and involve everyone.
Our world is challenging. Prioritizing peace appears to have less of a presence in the global community due to misunderstandings, abuse, lack of trust, discrimination, and cultural conflict. There is really no excuse for the world not to exist in some peaceful manner. We should all be grateful to the UN for helping to bring awareness to the fact that there is some good in the world.
Building connections and friendships goes beyond simply having something in common with someone else in terms of traits, characteristics, or interests. It also involves encouraging a worldwide commitment to and knowledge of diversity and inclusion. People should not be divided because of differences in appearance, attitudes, politics, interests, music, reproductive rights, or other factors. We can discover common ground despite our differences. Relationships are more important than that, and every July, the UN seeks to spread generosity and camaraderie.
We are more alike than we all think. You can find commonalities by celebrating friendships through small gestures like a quick note, a coffee date, attending a concert, Facetiming, or going shopping. Another focus of this day is to spread ideas that reduce hatred and contempt; we want to believe that there is something that unites us all.
The World Friendship Crusade, an international civil group that promotes peaceful culture through friendship, suggested the first World Friendship Day in 1958. Hallmark first launched friendship greeting cards in the 1930s, and to this day, many people, including me, celebrate their special connections with a card or note.
On the International Day of Friendship, we honor and celebrate the friends who stand by us, correct us when we're being stubborn, give up their time for us while everyone else is preoccupied with adulting, visit us in the middle of the night to lift our spirits, and even the long-distance friends whose friendship has endured across borders.
As I write this, I'm reflecting on my own friendships. I've had some of the same friends for nearly 30 years, and I will always value our friendship. Every person's definition of friendship is unique, as is the nature of the friendship bond. People we have known for a long time might not be close to us, yet we might regard someone we have only recently met as our best friend. It means a lot to me to have both in my life.
There are simple ways to observe the holiday, such as hanging out with friends and doing what you enjoy, as well as more complex ones, such as throwing parties, exchanging gifts, and telling people how much they mean to us. Reaching out and contacting people we haven't seen in a while is another custom on International Day of Friendship. Since conversations are the foundation of all friendships, you might want to reach out to someone new.
Use this celebration day to send someone a sincere note on the spur of the moment or go out to lunch with friends to catch up. Enjoy the month and strengthen your existing relationships, but don't hesitate to strike up new ones. As always, I wish you all continued peace, love, happiness, and blessings. Eustacia English writes the Perspective column, which examines Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in resume writing and career strategy. She is a 20-year HR and talent acquisition veteran and started Resumes on Demand last year. She also writes on DEI for The Black in HR e-zine. She lives with her husband and two children in Cherry Hill, NJ. Find her online at LinkedIn.com/in/ecampbell05.