September is Friendship Month. Friendship Month was started by The Grand United Order of Oddfellows Friendly Society (GUOOFS) 10 years ago. The Odd Fellows came up with the idea of Friendship Month to help combat social isolation and help bring people together. We all need friendship and belonging, they are basic human needs. Friends help us feel loved, cared for and accepted for who we are, which is a huge factor in helping to maintain good mental health and emotional wellbeing.
Friendship Month is all about highlighting the importance of what friendship means to us and celebrating our amazing friends and what they bring to our lives. It's a good time to let our friends know how important they are to us, spending quality time with our friends and appreciating them. Or even reconnecting with people we haven’t seen in a while.
Friendship Month is also a great opportunity to reach out to new people and make friends with them. We’re never too old to make new friends and that’s something that becomes ever more important as we move away, change jobs, get older. September is filled with opportunities to celebrate everything that is amazing about Friendship. Try the following ideas or simply celebrate Friendship Month in your own way, with your friends, family and loved ones.
Let your friends know what they mean to you: social connections are vitally important in helping to maintain our mental health and wellbeing, aiding deeper happiness and life balance. It’s important to stop from time to time and appreciate the positive impact our friends have in our lives. It’s also important to ensure they don’t feel under-appreciated or taken for granted by you. Let them know that they are loved and valued by you. You can send them a card or a small token of friendship to tell them what a good friend they are to you. You could take your friend out to lunch or a movie, enjoy a favourite activity together, or just invite your friend to hang out. Spending time with friends is probably the very best way to celebrate the essence of Friendship Month!
Reconnect with old friends: it’s easy to lose contact with old friends, but it can be just as easy to get back in touch once again. Facebook and Instagram make it even easier to get connected with those who have faded away over the years. Why not reach out and reconnect with an old friend you haven’t seen for a while? You could send them a private message and let them know how much they were appreciated when they were in your life.
Make new friends: meeting new people isn’t always easy; many of us feel socially awkward or we’re afraid of being rejected. But there are safe and comfortable ways to make new friends such as joining a group or an organised activity such as a local book club, volunteering or rambling group. Check out events near you on Eventbrite and make the most of those opportunities, you never know where they will lead! If you feel nervous, take a friend or family member along.
Arrange a get-together: there are up-coming opportunities in Autumn to arrange a get-together with your friends and loved ones. Halloween and Bonfire Night are great opportunities for having fun and enjoying down-time with your friends.
Be kind: the simple act of human kindness and being aware and attentive to the humanness of other people is another effective way to bring new people into your life. Taking an extra moment to connect with other human beings, offering a smile, a kind word, or asking how their day is going can make all the difference in helping someone feel cared for and appreciated. And you never know, a new and lasting friendship may emerge.
Life can be so painful and complicated at times, we need our friends and loved ones to help us get through it. The time we spend with friends and loved ones is vitally important, we need it, we value it and those are the times we cherish most of all. So you may well ask why we need to dedicate a whole special month to Friendship when we can be friendly and kind all the time. Well, Friendship Month draws our attention to Friendship and reminds us not to take our friends and loved ones for granted. Friendship Month also reminds us of the great opportunities for new friendships when we create new friendship-making habits. Celebrating Friendship Month is the perfect way to remember to make time for friendships old and new. Friendships are one of the mainstays of life, keeping us going when things get tough, as well as helping us celebrate the good times, so it's worth taking a moment during Friendship Month to let our friends and loved ones know we appreciate them and care for them too.