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International Day of Friendship: Making positive connections for a better world

Published by: LifeWorks,

July 30th is International Day of Friendship. The day was officially declared by the United Nations General Assembly in 2011 to promote international peace and security and reject violence. The aim is to prevent conflicts by addressing their root causes with a goal of solving problems and respect diversity.

Divisions in society can fuel violence and conflict. If we make a conscious effort to learn about other cultures and be open to new friendships, we can help promote the spirit of human solidarity and peace.

Here are some ways to jump-start positive change:

Celebrate friendship. Let your friends or neighbours know how important they are to you by reaching out to them by phone, text or email. Send a “just because” note or gift to a few of your closest friends. Make new friends by getting involved in your community: join a local book club, participate in a community garden or volunteer your time by helping out a youth sports team.

Perform a selfless act of kindness. Ask someone what you can do to help them, then follow through right away. Whether it be to mow a neighbour’s lawn or prepare a meal for a senior in your neighbourhood, foster positivity by making a concerted effort to be involved in acts of kindness in your community. Click here for more ideas on selfless things you can do every day.

Build Community. Communities grow stronger through actions citizens take every day. Consider supporting local merchants, asking an elderly or young person in your area to teach you something new, or host a potluck supper for your neighbourhood. Spearhead or get involved with local community initiatives like The Alley Project, which works with more than 100 young artists to showcase their work, hold art classes, and beautify the neighbourhood.

Learn about and celebrate other cultures. Expand your social circle to include members of different cultural and religious communities. Do independent research and ask questions to broaden your horizons. Visit museums or other cultural centres in your area. Encourage your loved ones to join in too. You’ll not only set yourself up to build new and enriching friendships, but you’ll experience so much more by sharing ideas and perspectives with people who have different lived experiences.

Through friendship and positivity, we can contribute to the necessary shifts to a more peaceful, stable, and just world in which we are all working toward a common good. If you would like more information on how you can foster positivity and make a positive impact in your community, reach out to your EAP anytime.

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