“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”

– Marcel Proust

It’s true. Nothing makes us feel happier, more confident in ourselves, and hopeful about the future than surrounding ourselves with good friends. That’s why it is so important to celebrate International Day of Friendship this year on July 30. Although we can’t meet up with our friends face to face, there are many ways we can remind our friends how much they mean to us.

Let’s talk briefly about the holiday’s history, why friendship is so important, and simple ways we can show our appreciation to our favorite pals and celebrate International Day of Friendship.

What is International Day of Friendship?

Most people already value their friendships, but it’s believed that setting aside an official day to celebrate friends was the work of Hallmark Cards, Inc. founder Joyce Hall. In the 1930s, Hall proposed marking August 2 to celebrate an international day of friendship.

Though his intentions to promote sending cards to valued friends had transparent motivations, the idea of giving friendship an official date took hold. In 2011, the UN General Assembly set July 30 as the date on which to celebrate International Day of Friendship, a time for recognizing and promoting friendship between peoples, countries, cultures, and individuals. They hoped this initiative would “inspire peace efforts and build bridges between communities.”

Friendship is good for your health.

Studies show that meaningful friendships are good for your heart—literally. According to multiple studies, “a robust social life . . . can lower stress levels; improve mood; encourage positive health behaviors and discourage damaging ones; boost cardiovascular health; improve illness recovery rates; and aid virtually everything in between.”

Reach out to friends amid the pandemic.

These uncertain times make it difficult to connect with people we care about. But our Pacific Palms residents do a fantastic job of looking out for each other. From picking up extra groceries for a neighbor who is unable to shop to dropping off kind notes or little treats for someone who needs a little emotional boost, we value the gift of friendship among our residents. Here are three simple yet thoughtful ways to reach out to those you care about and celebrate International Day of Friendship.

1. Connect with technology.

Maintaining business relationships and connecting with good friends have never been easier. Take it one step further and arrange to watch a favorite movie with your besties on Zoom. Or invite your pals to a virtual happy hour, book club, or dinner where everyone has ordered from the same restaurant.

2. Send it in a letter.

Technology is great. But sending a card or a letter is even better. Write down the things you love about your bestie, then mail it. Your friends will love it!

3. Perform random acts of kindness.

Did you know Anaheim is known as the City of Kindness? What began as caring support for a family facing tragedy evolved into a 2011 initiative to get to know and serve your neighbors. Keep that tradition alive by small acts of service around your apartment complex.

We all “get by with a little help from our friends.” So let’s celebrate them. Mark your calendars for July 30, then plan a dinner, send a card, or surprise a neighbor with a kind note. As long as you set out with love in your heart, there’s no wrong way to celebrate International Day of Friendship.