September is Women's Friendship Month. Forgive me if I sound less than thrilled.
I go back and forth between championing friendship holidays and feeling slightly squeamish over them. Much like one of Santa's helpers admitting some ambivalence about Christmas, it feels slightly wrong to be a spokesperson for women's friendship and not promote every one of the holidays.
Notice that word was plural. I love my friends, but even my mom only gets one holiday! Look at this mess:
Friendship Holidays Throughout the Year
- All over the Web, February is touted as the International Month of Friendship. If you know why, I'd love to know, but indeed there are over 32 million results claiming it is so.
In my circle of women's friendship experts, we all seem to have coalesced behind September as Women's Friendship Month. In 1999, Kappa Delta Sorority created the National Women's Friendship Day that became so popular that it was expanded in 2009 to a month-long celebration. Now women celebrate International Women's Friendship Month (IWFM) the entire month. There are a good 52 million good results on this one, but who's to say if that is what determines the winner?
But with a ton of August friendship holidays cropping up, you'd have good reason for thinking everyone moved the celebrations to this summer month. Apparently, Aug. 1 is called National Girlfriends Day, not to be confused with the Women's Friendship Day that has multiple records online for being the third Sunday in August. Which is still different from the more general official Friendship Day, recognized by Wikipedia as having Hallmark roots and as being the first Sunday of every August since its inception in 1919.
But even that official Friendship Day in August gets a little blurry, because this last April 2011, the General Assembly of the United Nations declared July 30 as official International Friendship Day.
And then you can't do much research and not come across Best Friends Day on June 8, or Old Friends, New Friends Week as the third week of May.
See what I mean? What's a friendship girl to do?
There are simply too many groups of people naming different dates and too large a plethora of variations on the theme. If I don't throw up pom-poms on each of the said dates, then I feel like a friendship Scrooge or slacker; if I try to give honorable mention to all of them, they all seem to start losing some meaning. I suppose I should just be thrilled to have more opportunities to promote friendship, but wouldn't any holiday start to lose some joy if we all celebrated it at different times and at half a dozen unique dates throughout the year?
So until you all figure out the best holiday schedule, I'm going to stick to celebrating September as Friendship Month. (Who knows, I may throw in another date here and there just so I don't feel like a total friendship Grinch refusing to play with everyone else.)
Four Fabulous Ways to Celebrate Your Friends
Let's love on our freinds! Here are themes to help you start thinking about how you can rekindle, celebrate and create friendships this month.
Reconnect with long-lost pals: Decide you're going to really catch up with the people you say are important to you even if you haven't connected in several months. Maybe decide to call one every Sunday this month.
Plan a get-together with local friends: Schedule a brunch or dinner party for later this month and invite your friends. And no worries if they don't all know each other. This can be a small GirlFriend Gratitude Party where you celebrate your three besties, or it can be a big night out with friends encouraged to bring their other friends!
Make new friends: The average person replaces half her friends every seven years. So chances are you need to be putting yourself out there to start the process of meeting someone now so that this time next year you have another fabulous friend. Send an email to someone you've recently met and invite her to coffee, find a meet-up where you can meet someone over a shared interest, join an online site to make new friends, or RSVP to some event and promise yourself you'll talk to three new people.
Affirm those who love you well: We have fun with our friends. We cry on their shoulders. We whine about life. We encourage each other. But this month be sure to tell them thank you. Depending on your finances, style and depth of connection, show your appreciation. This could be as simple as buying five cards at the supermarket to surprise them with a paragrpah about what you love about them. Or, if a friend has really gone through a big transition this year with you, maybe give her flowers, a necklace or a coupon for a free house cleaning!
Pick your holiday, name your month, vote for your favorite version, or start yet another one, but what it really comes down to is loving your friends well.
And, I promise you, if you love them well this month, I won't make you do it again in February.
Shasta is celebrating Friendship Month by starting to vlog on friendship! Subscribe to her new YouTube channel where she'll be posting three-minute teaching clips throughout the month!
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