You gotta have friends | Moment's Notice

By Maria A. Montalvo | Apr 12, 2019

On April 27, 2011, the United Nations General Assembly declared an official International Friendship Day. Originally so-named for July 30, in many countries it is celebrated on the first Sunday in August.

Friendly countries can agree to disagree, and celebrate friendship whenever they want.

Biologists believe the evolutionary origins of human friendship are displayed from a wide variety of animals. Horses, elephants, hyenas, dolphins, monkeys, and chimpanzees all demonstrate friendships that last for years.

In all species, friendships do not depend on familial kinship, but rather on the memory and emotions associated with past interactions.

Male animals that form ally relationships have superior competitive ability and improved reproductive success, and female animals with the strongest, most enduring friendships experience less stress, higher infant survival, and live longer.

Although human friendship developed along similar lines and impacted our survival, not much has changed since hunting and gathering days, with perhaps more psychological benefits to physical ones.

Friends support what is important to us, guide us to avoid risk, and help us develop what we believe and want to achieve.

Physics say the atoms within us that were banded together will have a memory of their time together long after we die, and even as the universe continues to expand and atoms move further and further apart, they continue to act like they did when together.

It is a shared history of pairs of particles that do not recognize that they have been permanently separated.

We may not be together all of the time, and eventually won’t be here at all, but our atoms will remember when we were together – talk about friends forever!

This week, a very dear friend of mine, from my college days in England (or university, as they call it) visited me many years later. We have remained good friends, making an effort to visit each other as regularly as life allows.

She left her family behind this time, and the two of us have wandered the daffodil fields and visited farm stands in Skagit County, taken the obligatory ferry ride, shopped in Edmonds and Kingston, ate ice cream, prepared meals together, and more than anything, talked and talked and talked.

We reminisced about this party or that drama in our flat (aka. residence hall). We commiserated over bad past decision-making and reminded each other about lovely memories from days spent in town or sitting together on campus.

We chatted of our love of dancing then, and our love of dancing now … and then danced around the living room.

Friends grow together – loving the foibles you share with them and admiring the strengths you do not. This friend makes me feel utterly at peace with myself and with the world around me. She has a way of rephrasing my irrational thoughts into rational ones that I can then act upon.

We unequivocally have a bond of mutual affection, as the definition of friend states, but the mutual support goes so much deeper.

In addition to the UN Friendship Day, International Friendship Month is February. Women’s Friendship Month is September. Old Friends, New Friends Week is the third week of May.

No matter what day or week or month you choose to celebrate friendship, make sure you do.

We are so lucky to have dear friends who make us laugh and help us cry and, most importantly, remind us that we are connected to other wonderful people, at an atomic level and a human one.


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