International Friendship Day

Thank you for being a friend

Gina Turner, professor of psychology,

International Friendship Day

“Thank you for being a friend

Traveled down a road and back again

Your heart is true, you're a pal and a confidant” 

Andrew Gold - Thank You For Being A Friend (theme song from The Golden Girls) 

According to Wikipedia, in 2011, “the General Assembly of the United Nations declared 30 July as official International Friendship Day.”  Why would the UN be interested in friendship? 

In my discipline, Psychology, we talk about the importance of “social support”.  Social support is the sense that that you are lovedcared for, valued, and part of a network of people whom you can rely on, and who can rely on you. People who feel socially supported cope better with the challenges in life. 

When I think of what support and friendship mean to me, I want people in my life who possess characteristics that I value, and who bring out those characteristics in me – things like: consistency, honesty, genuineness, depth, generosity, and humor. It’s worth asking yourself: what do I value, and do I see that reflected back from the friends with whom I spend my valuable time? 

Like many people (especially in this time of social distancing), don’t get to see those I feel closest to as often as I’d like.  Many of my closest friends are on the West Coast, sI’m not having high quality face-to-face encounters on a daily, or even monthly basis. But that’s okay! I can still care for and cultivate my friendships. Little things like a phone call, or sending a small gift or memento (like a picture), or sending a long e-mail (or even an old-school handwritten letter) can go a long way toward refreshing those bonds. (Just "liking" something on social media doesn't count!) 

Friendships are living things, and can change over time.  Recognize that there are ebbs and flows, when maybe they aren’t as available (or maybe you aren’t). And if you have a concern – talk to your friend!   The beauty of having hard conversations is that they can help to build trust and camaraderie.  If we practice resolving conflicts with our friends, it can build the skills necessary to resolve conflicts with others. As it states on the UN’s website: “Our world faces many challenges, crises and forces of division... their root causes must be addressed by promoting and defending a shared spirit of human solidarity that takes many forms — the simplest of which is friendship.”   

Creating a shared sense of solidarity and friendship, with others in the world, can ultimately "weave a safety net that will protect us all, and generate passion for a better world where all are united for the greater good.” 

So, thank a friend today! 

International Friendship Day

Studying Psychology at Northampton Community College 
Students may begin their path to a bachelor's degree in Psychology by majoring in Psychology at NCC. Foundational courses in communication, statistics, science, social science, and the humanities will be complemented with major courses in psychology. We offer courses including Abnormal, Cognitive, and Developmental Psychology, and the Psychology of Sex and Gender.  Students may also conduct independent research projects under the direct supervision of faculty members. The faculty works to ensure that every student receives high quality instruction and is exposed to a wide range of sub-fields in psychology. Through one-on-one advising tailored to each student’s interest, the Department is committed to providing knowledge and experiences that enable students to make educated and informed decisions regarding future occupational and educational choices.  Students will be prepared to successfully transfer to psychology programs at four-year institutions, and be on track to enter at the appropriate level. 

NCC also offers an A.A.S. degree in Applied Psychology, aimed at students who, upon completion, hope to work in professions such as mental health technician, therapeutic support service (TSS) professional, direct care worker for people with special needs or mental illness, and job coach or employment specialist for people with special needs.