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World Friendship Day: Forging Connections and Maintaining Ties

Friday, July 30, is World Friendship Day! Though sometimes overlooked, friendship is a key component to a joyful life. A 2017 study done at Michigan State University examined 270,000 people in nearly 100 countries and found that friendships were associated with better health and happiness in life overall. But what if you feel like you could have more friends, or you want to deepen your current relationships? Read on to find out about ways to strengthen your existing friendships and nurture new ones.
 
Making Connections
Friendship doesn’t just mean connecting with people you’ve known for a long time. New and casual company provides many of the same benefits that long-term friendship does. If you have ever felt a little cheerier after chatting with a neighbor, you’ve experienced friendship at work! Even a quick conversation can change your perspective and draw you out of whatever is going on in your mind that day. Friends help us change our perspective, and they bring new energy to situations that may be challenging to face without support.
 
Putting in the Work
Sometimes friendship takes effort—and that’s ok! There is a misconception that friendship will feel 100% natural all the time. While it’s true that some people make us feel comfortable right off the bat, it is also important to remember that connecting with others can be an emotional process that requires give and take and a bit of time. Try to remember that next time you meet someone who could be a new pal: friendship is a journey that can be mistaken for a destination, but one of the most rewarding aspects of friendship is the way that friends continue to reveal new parts of themselves to you and by doing so, broaden your worldview over time.
 
Getting Out There
Putting yourself in a position to meet new people and build new relationships can be increasingly hard as we age, but the reward for doing so is profound. Touchmark at Harwood Groves resident Clark explains how moving into Touchmark opened up a new world of friendships for him: “At Touchmark, you will find people much like you. We have many of the same interests, friendliness, and the same thoughtful concern for one another. In the four years I have lived here (even with COVID-19 limiting visitors this past year), I have had 372 friends over for meals or coffee and dessert. I have not left behind any of my old friends. I have brought them here to introduce them to my new neighbors.”
 
Activities such as coffee or sharing a meal are a great way to bond with current friends and forge new connections. Call your local community to see what activities are on the calendar for the month, and share this post with a friend as a way to inspire more love and connection on National Friendship Day!

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