Let us all remember that next Wednesday, November 24, 2021, is National Friendship Day in The Bahamas. I invite everyone to wear something yellow – a ribbon, hat, T-shirt, necktie, anything. Yellow is known as a synonym of friendship. Let’s brighten the lives of others around us on that day, not only by wearing yellow but by being friendly to all we see. The theme for National Friendship Day is “Be a friend and make a friend”. Make it a point to make one new friend on that day and help one person who is in need.
Let us use this day as a reminder of the importance of being caring and loving to everyone. During this time, the economic and social horizon may look bleak for many. However, we can all do our part to bring a smile to someone’s face. There are many around us who are lonely, frustrated, and sad. There are also far too many who feel hopeless. Why? Because they feel nobody cares, or nobody even notices that they are in need. Let us be more vigilant on National Friendship Day.
While National Friendship Day is designed to foster a national spirit of friendship, kindness, and respect, we must not ignore the importance of individuals having lifelong friendships. Far too many do not have close friends. Thus, they feel alone and sometimes worthless. Alexandra McCartney, an online writer, states, “Researchers found that in order to feel like we are getting enough, in terms of friendship, having three to five close friends is the way to go. Participants with four to five friends reported the highest levels of life satisfaction, with people with three close friends not far behind.” While there is no magic number of friends to have, the research indicates that people are happier and healthier when they have at least a small group of friends.
Psychologist Dr. Robin Dunbar at Oxford University conducted a research to ascertain how many friends one can have. “He used some fancy mathematics to work out the maximum number of friends we, as human beings, can have. He measured the size of our neocortex (the part of our brain responsible for sensory perception as well processing language and emotion) compared to the rest of the brain (something he had previously done with chimps), and concluded that our minds can deal with roughly 150 friendships.” Wow! How interesting!
We all need friends. Friends can even be closer than a relative. Here are two wonderful stories about friendship that are often shared on friendship days around the world.
The first story.
“There were two friends who were walking across a desert. While they were walking, they got into an ugly argument and out of anger, one of them slapped the other on the face. The one who was slapped, though hurt, did not say anything and quietly wrote over the sand ‘I am hurt because today my friend hit me on my face.’ They resumed walking and kept walking until they came across an oasis. They decided to take a bath in the oasis. While they were taking a bath, the one who got slapped started drowning. The other friend came to his rescue and saved him. After he got rescued, he wrote on the stone ‘Today, I was saved by my best friend.’
The other friend asked him, “Why did you write on the sand when I slapped you while you wrote on the stone when I saved you?” Upon this, the other friend replied that it’s “better to write in the sand when your friend hurts you as it will be gone with the wind, but write it on stone when your friend does something good to you, so that it could be engraved forever”.
The second story.
“There were two friends named Sam and Jason. One single day, while they were on their way to Boston city, they met with an accident. The next morning, while Sam was still lying unconscious, Jack woke up realizing he could not see anymore. He was blind. The doctor was looking at Sam’s reports, when he woke up. The doctor was looking at Sam with benevolent eyes as he was diagnosed with blood cancer. Sam decided to donate his eyes to his friend Jason, when he dies. He asked the doctor not to disclose this to Jason.
As time passed, their friendship started deteriorating gradually and Jason started avoiding Sam as he thought it worthless to have a friend who will die in a few days. Sam became depressed and he died soon. Jason went to Sam’s burial, where he was offered a letter by the doctor. It was written by Sam! It read, “I want to donate my eyes to you, Jason, when I die. It drove tears to Jason’s eyes and he started crying and remembering those days when they used to be together.”
These stories tell us that friends can be friends forever.
Dear reader, I encourage you to do your best to be a friend and make a friend on National Friendship Day. Let it be a new beginning in your life. Our nation is urgently in need of people who and friendly and caring. Let us all be a friend and make a friend. Have a happy friendship day.
• Barrington Brennen is a marriage and family therapist. Send you comments or questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 327 1980 or visit the website www.soencouragement.org.