“With every true friendship we build more firmly the foundations on which the peace of the whole world rests. Thought by thought and act by act, with every breath we build…”
– Mahatma Gandhi
It all started with fountain pens.
My innate curiosity eventually won over my usual introverted nature, so I began joining fountain pen meets to meet like-minded people and learn more about this new hobby I’d just gotten into. Little did I know that these get-togethers would eventually blossom into something more meaningful and life-changing for me.
It was our shared enthusiasm for fountain pens that paved the way, but it was the bonding over various life stories that deepened that initial acquaintance into enduring friendship. At first, it was all about pens — sharing the experience of using our prized or newly-acquired babies, oftentimes giving out vials of ink bottles, or testing different fountain-pen-friendly papers. While we were scribbling and swatching away we talked, teaching and learning from each other. There’s nothing like having a common interest when building instant rapport.
Then the pandemic hit. Isolation, even for an introvert like myself, eventually took its toll. It was then that I realized that having such friends that I could reach out to and who likewise sought my company, whether virtually or masked face-to-face, was becoming essential to my overall well-being. We humans are inherently social creatures after all. Our continuing relationship kept us afloat, and became more vital during those troubled times. Care packages of food and fountain-pen-related gifts flew back-and-forth between our homes, each with an enclosed note lovingly handwritten using our favorite writing instruments, of course. In between these, we shared our journaling and sketching pages through online messaging, and supported each other in our common efforts towards self-care and mindfulness. When it was safe enough to be with one another, our friendship became even stronger for the richness and nuance that each one’s physical presence brings.
Looking back to the beginning, I’m forever grateful for what a seemingly mundane tool has ushered into my life. Given the worldwide and personal events that subsequently unfolded, it has become a unique symbol representing the essence of community, and how strengthening these heartfelt connections has helped me profoundly — to not just exist but to thrive in the midst of more difficult moments.
Why True Friendship Matters
People whom you’ve chosen to be part of your life sometimes help you in ways you’re not fully conscious of. The deeper value they bring is more precious than those lighthearted moments of camaraderie and togetherness. The foundation of nurturing one another is laid down. When it is encouraged and nourished, the benefits you receive enrich multiple aspects of your life.
One obvious gift is emotional support. Good friends help you celebrate the happy moments, and provide a trusted shoulder to cry on when you’re at your lowest. They stimulate a healthy mood that is catching. How many times have you found laughter to be quite contagious when you’re with them? They also provide a safe space for you to just be, and relieve your stress by listening with understanding and providing insight from a caring perspective.
Another is self-empowerment. They boost your self-confidence by offering reassurance when you’re feeling inadequate. They see you with gentle eyes, recognizing what you bring into the world and your relationships when you are blinded by your perceived limitations. When it comes to setting goals, they are there to cheer you on and help you achieve them when they can. Your well-being is their primary concern, so they watch out for you and encourage you to adopt healthier behaviors and habits.
And third, they improve your physical health. Studies have shown that having a close circle of friends decreases your risk for cardiovascular disease, cerebrovascular accidents like stroke, and diabetes — with the probability of premature deaths from these becoming reduced by half. It has been found that older adults who have strong social support tend to live longer than their peers who lack these connections.
There is no question that the bond of true friendship is dynamic and transformative. The more you nurture it, the more it gives back to you, and the better each of you become. And like all relationships, it is a commitment that needs focus and effort to grow. It ceases to be harmonious when the elements aren’t supportive of each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
Given that our good friends have such an impact on our lives, it is only right that for one day each year, we honor them. First conceptualized in 1919, National Friendship Day was initiated by Hallmark to encourage people to send more greeting cards to show they care. In 1935, it was decreed as an official holiday falling on every 1st Sunday of August by the United States Congress. Since then, it has become a tradition to recognize and appreciate the people who provide us with support and stability beyond the ties of blood, our found family.
So go on, let your friends know how much they mean to you - write them a letter, craft your own greeting card, pay them a visit bringing food and drinks to share, or make a night of it and let the music of your laughter ring. Or… you can always surprise them with a thoughtful gift from EndlessPens — I know my friends would just love that. ;)
Happy National Friendship Day!
Lovingly dedicated to MR, RM, and PR. Thank you very much for your friendship!
Use the code
LEKZ10 to get a 10% discount!
* Not applicable for HopDrop, Clearance, On Sale items, and select brands.
Written by @lekzumali
Check out her musings on Instagram!