Celebrate International Friendship Day

How To Nurture Your Friendships and Create More Meaningful Connections
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Celebrate International Friendship Day

Celebrate International Friendship Day

This International Friendship Day, we’re celebrating some of the most important connections in our life. Though they can oftentimes take a back seat to family or romantic relationships, friendships are just as life-giving.

Many different studies have shown the importance of having healthy friendships. The Mayo Clinic shares a few benefits of friendship, which include an increased sense of belonging and purpose, boosted happiness, reduced stress, and improved self-confidence and self-worth.

As you consider the friends in your life, check out the following ideas for how to further nurture your friendships and create more meaningful connections.

“Date” Your Friends

Any relationship worth having is one worth giving your time and effort to. No different than pursuing and nurturing a relationship with a significant other, prioritizing your friendships is equally important. 

I’m definitely not opposed to running errands together or catching up over a phone call while you each cook dinner, but scheduling a “date” with your friends will ensure quality time to catch up and actually enjoy each other’s company. Here are a few “date” ideas I’ve enjoyed with friends:

Host a Cocktail Competition or Bake-Off. Everyone brings ingredients to make specialty cocktails or homemade cookies for the group. Then spend the evening rating each friend’s contribution. We’ve often enjoyed this group date idea around the holidays so drinks can be themed. Categories to judge can include taste, presentation, and theme. The winner takes home eternal fame and glory (and the extra cookies). 

Enjoy a Picnic. For my most recent birthday, my closest girlfriends planned a picnic in my favourite little lakeside town. We were the envy of park passersby with our spread of charcuterie board goodies and wine. We spent the afternoon chatting and snacking, and my joy-cup was overflowing by the time we left. 

Attend an Event. A minor-league baseball game. A candlelight concert. The county fair. A farmer’s market. A pottery class. If you think it’d make a fun first or second date with a significant other, then I can promise it’ll be that much more fun with your best friend. Instead of catching up over dinner and drinks at your regular stomping grounds, think outside of the box and plan a day or night out doing something together.

Get Crafty. My cousin (who doubles as one of my best friends) and I get together for paint nights at which we drink wine, listen to Taylor Swift, and paint the least-award-worthy art. The point isn’t to have painted a masterpiece by the end of the evening but to have some creative fun. Don’t fancy yourself a painter? Pick any craft of your choice! Put together vision boards, make candles, or create jewelry. Just know you can be an amateur at whatever craft you choose. 

Dive Deep 

I’m fortunate enough to live less than two minutes away from one of my closest friends, but even before we lived within walking distance, the two of us would meet up to go for walks and runs every week or so. While our conversations varied from updates about work and relationships or our weekend plans, we’ve also always made it a point to dive deeper and ask the kind of probing questions that can’t be simply answered with a “fine” or “good.” 

These are a couple of our favourite go-to questions if you’d like to try them out in your next catch-up with a friend. Even if you’ve known each other for years, you might be surprised by something new!

What’s been keeping you up at night? This is a great alternative to “How are you?” Even the grocery store cashier and your kid’s school teacher ask how you are, which makes it that much easier to respond on auto-pilot. Get to the heart of what’s on your friends’ minds with this alternative question. 

What are your goals for the week? Not only will this question keep you in the loop on your friends’ day-to-day, but it also offers a great opportunity to hold each other accountable. Make a point to check in throughout the week with a quick text or call and offer encouragement, or reach out for some support yourself if needed.

What have you been reading/watching/listening to? With the people closest to us, it can be easy to fall into a rut of boring updates about work, schedules, and to-do lists. Make a point to discuss ideas with the people you love and respect most. Exploring topics from books, shows, podcasts, and artists can be a great way to spark more interesting conversations. 

Who are you inviting to your dinner party? Don’t worry, this is a hypothetical dinner party. No grocery shopping or planning is required. This is a fun question we ask every so often to see if there have been updates to the “guest list,” which can include people you know, celebrities, authors, or other influential people. For context, two guests on my list include Kristin Kimball (author of The Dirty Life) and Kailey Dickerson (host of the “Coffee with Kailey” podcast). As you share your lists, you’ll be surprised by the conversation rabbit holes you’ll travel down! 

Show You Care 

Life gets busy, and it can be easy to become consumed by the never-ending to-do list. It’s often when tragedy strikes or life takes a left turn that we realize how important it is to have people who love and will show up for us. But the key to fostering these ride-or-die friendships is being mindful to show you care in the thick of day-to-day life. 

This International Friendship Day, make a point to pick a friend or a few and thank them for their friendship. Send flowers or show up with baked goods. Mail a handwritten note, send a quick text, or make a quick call. 

 If possible, carry these little acts of devotion into your future. Every Wednesday, send a text to a friend in your contact list and share two things you love about them. Or buy the little trinket you come across that makes you think of your friend. One small act of kindness will help your friends feel seen and loved. 

How do you nurture the friendships in your life? Share your ideas for fostering meaningful connections here.  

Taylor Stawecki is a 20-something Michigander with a love for the great outdoors and written word. She spends her weekdays working for a digital marketing company and as a freelance copywriter. In her free time, you can find her reading, writing poetry, running, watching a Grey’s Anatomy rerun, or spending time with her family and friends.  As an old soul, she enjoys collecting salt and pepper shakers and cuddling up in oversized sweaters.

Favorite Book: If I have to choose, The Dirty Life by Kristin Kimball
Favorite Brunch Spot: Rochester Brunch House


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