CEL Summer Masthead

Happy Friendsgiving!

Molly McLaughlin

Although you might not have heard of it, today is officially Friendsgiving.

More than just an excuse for a party, Friendsgiving is a time to formally celebrate how cool your friends are. In fact, Friendsgiving can be celebrated at any time of year but is usually is held on a weekend close to Thanksgiving.

Traditionally Thanksgiving isn’t celebrated in Australia but its more fun counterpart has rapidly gained popularity all over the world in the last few years.

In America, Thanksgiving is usually celebrated with family, incorporating traditions of the Protestant Reformation combined with a pagan harvest festival. First popping up on the Internet in 2009, Friendsgiving is the new alternative.

As much as we love them, family gatherings like Christmas can be stressful and overwhelming.

Friendsgiving, on the other hand, revolves around getting your mates together (BYO plate of food and bottle of wine) to celebrate surviving another year.

Sometimes it can be difficult to maintain friendships while balancing study, work, romantic relationships and family but Friendsgiving dedicates one day a year to appreciating the friends who have been there through all the break-ups, new jobs, graduations, failures, family dramas and successes.

Although we might not realise it in our daily life, strong friendships are vital for our physical and mental health.

The Nurses’ Health Study from Harvard Medical School showed that the more friends women have, the less likely they are to develop physical impairments as they age, and the more likely they are to lead a contented life.

The reasons for the physical benefit of friendships are not completely clear, but its seems that friendships lower stress levels and assist women in navigating the ups and downs of life more easily than those without strong social ties.

As society becomes busier and more connected through online social networks there are definite advantages like exchanging new ideas, working from home and interacting with diverse people from around the world. However, we can also increasingly disengage from our real-life friends, family, neighbours and organisations.

We belong to fewer clubs and groups, get together with friends less often, know fewer of our neighbours and spend less time with our families.

This decline in our personal social interactions is due to a combination of changes in the workplace and women’s role in society, different family structures and technology and can leave us in need of support. That’s where good friends come to the rescue.

At Friendsgiving you can show off your perfect recipe for blueberry cheesecake and avoid awkward questions from your family about your five-year plan because your friends already know all you want to do is move to New York and open a florist.

You can skip the small talk and dive straight into politics, life, death and religion. You can plan your next weekend away or compare notes on your favourite TV show. But most importantly, Friendsgiving is an occasion when you can make absolutely sure your friends know how much you love them.

Image of ‘Food Table Healthy Delicious Organic Meal Concept‘ via Shutterstock

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Molly McLaughlin

Molly McLaughlin is new to Canberra and is attempting to prove to her friends that the capital city can be cool. This mostly involves frequently going out for brunch and then posting about it on social media, along with trekking up hills and around art galleries. She is half way through her uni degree but spends most of her time reading, writing and planning her next adventure. More about the Author

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