July 30 is International Day of Friendship. My cursory thought on this date has always been that’s its most likely a Hallmark holiday created by a corporate entity as a revenue stream. It turns out that although they may benefit from the day, it was actually the United Nations that decreed that this day be celebrated as the International Day of Friendship. The premise behind this is that humanity today faces multiple crises, wars and humanitarian challenges. A potential path to solving some of these issues is to promote and defend a shared spirit or human solidarity. The simplest form of human solidarity that elevates the reality of a shared experience on this planet is- Friendship.
I have been fortunate to befriend people from various cultures at various stages of my life. While growing up in India, I came across people from different regions within India, whose cultures can sometimes vary enormously even though geographical boundaries have created a unified identity. Later on my own professional journey, I’ve met and befriended people from all around the world and continue to be awed by the diversity of lifestyle, beliefs and thought.
However, no matter how different people are, there are 2 universal friendship truths that I have observed and I share here:
1. Often times, friendships formed through shared experiences are the most authentic and long lasting. These are people who may have no other similarity to you but the emotional journey of going through a similar experience, creates a strong bond based on understanding and emotion. Some of my closest friends are ones that I joined new jobs with, those that had kids at the same time or sadly, went through the experience of losing a parent. These experiences create invisible strands that bind us together in a timeless bond of empathy.
2. As you go through life, friends that wish you well and are your cheerleaders are the only ones you want to/should spend time with. Life pulls you in multiple different directions with myriad demands on your time. Time becomes a precious commodity and spending it with friends who have positive energy becomes a no-brainer!
In the words of the 13th – century poet Rumi:
“Set your life on Fire, Seek those who fan your flames”
So, find the people who show you the mirror, who listen to the same story the nth time, who cherish your successes and when tough times roll in, help you lick your wounds and stand up to face the world again!!