July 30, 2018 marks International Day of Friendship, an awareness day begun by the United Nations in 2011 that celebrates peace and cooperation between nations. But you’re only one person. What can you do to further this goal? The answer might be simpler than you would think. Keep reading for some ways you can participate in International Friendship Day.

Show kindness.

I told you these were simple! Yet, kindness is one of the most extraordinary ways to promote peace between people and one of the most challenging. We annoy each other; we are forgetful; we aren’t always considerate. Looking past someone’s quirks or mistakes or even differing beliefs can, at times, be incredibly difficult. Remembering to be kind anyway is a sure strategy for creating new friendships and maintaining the ones you already have.

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Let your friends know you care.

Just as we aren’t always good at being considerate, sometimes we forget to let the important people in our lives know that we care. Make an extra effort to let your loved ones know that you appreciate them. We love the idea of leaving personal notes in unexpected places. You could even go so far as to order flowers or show up to someone’s job with lunch for that day. If you’re pressed for time, you can always let your friends know you care by telling them! Texts and quick phone calls can go a long way toward making someone feel appreciated.

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Celebrate!

This one is slightly obvious. But it IS International Friendship Day! Though this awareness day is less well-known, you can still use the day as an excuse to gather people and spend time altogether. Find a local celebration where you live or if you want to push the envelope, you could invite someone new or maybe even someone you don’t get along with into your usual friend group. You may be surprised at how much you have in common. In a country riddled with division and opposition, perhaps we need more than ever to try and find common ground. Celebrations are a great way to bring together people who might not cross paths in their everyday lives and promote peace between them.

We’ll end this post with a quote from the UN about their hopes for this day of awareness:

"Through friendship — by accumulating bonds of camaraderie and developing strong ties of trust — we can contribute to the fundamental shifts that are urgently needed to achieve lasting stability, weave a safety net that will protect us all, and generate passion for a better world where all are united for the greater good."

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