Are you celebrating International Friendship Day? Yes, it’s a real thing, not just a Hallmark made-up holiday. Oh, wait, no, it is a Hallmark made-up holiday. To mark the day, the United Nations “encourages governments, international organizations and civil society groups to hold events, activities and initiatives that contribute to the efforts of the international community towards promoting a dialogue among civilizations, solidarity, mutual understanding and reconciliation.” To make the world friendlier, in 1998 the UN appointed Winnie the Pooh as the world’s Ambassador of Friendship.
The exchange of friendship bands is one holiday tradition that is very popular in India, Nepal, and South America. Extensive research has shown that friendship is good for body and mind. An expert on social connections says it boosts your immune system, helps you recover from disease faster, and may even help you live longer. Loneliness, on the other hand, is worse for you than obesity or smoking.