Written by our Founder and CEO, our Celebrations Pulse Sunday Letters aim to engage with our community. By welcoming your ideas and sharing your stories, we want to help you strengthen your relationships with the most important people in your life.

What’s the secret to a happy life? Study after study show it’s not wealth, educational status, or achievements at work. The key, researchers found, is the strength of our connections with other people: Those with more friends lead happier lives.

Harvard University researchers have been tracking thousands of people since 1938. In what’s believed to be the largest such study ever. Generation after generation, participants with the strongest relationships reported greater happiness than those with fewer friends.

The researchers also found that taking care of your health is another important factor, although it’s not as important. But other studies have uncovered that good health is also related to the depth and breadth of a person’s social circles.

According to the National Institutes of Health, strong social ties are linked to better health outcomes and longer life. Social relationships contribute to reduced stress and heart-related risks, and might even improve your ability to fight off germs. At the very least, friendships can help provide you with a more positive outlook on life.

Giving the gift of friendship

It’s a blessing to have friends who will be there for you at a moment’s notice. And inversely, friends that we help when they call upon us. Friends are there in good times and bad. They are true gifts, giving to us when we need them most.

Because life can get away from us, or distance between us, friendships may wane, and our other priorities in life may cause us to take friendships for granted.

Next Sunday, July 30, is the International Day of Friendship, which serves as a reminder of the significance of friendship. It provides a reason to reach out to as many friends as possible, and in the process, strengthen your relationships and increase your overall happiness.

Introducing the Friendship Challenge

Cultivating a friendship isn’t hard. It just takes intent and time. In our busy lives, it’s too easy to put off a phone call, email, or a lunch to reconnect and check in with friends. That’s why we’ve put together the 1-800-Flowers.com Friendship Challenge. This six-day challenge is a fun and easy way to use your power of connection to rekindle or strengthen all your friendships.

Friendship challenge graphic

Talk Tuesday

friendship challenge talk tuesday

On Tuesday, post a photo on Facebook, Instagram, Threads, or wherever you connect with your friends on social media, and challenge someone else to do the same. Share a story of how a friend helped you when you were in need, or how you helped one of your friends. Talk about how good it made both of you feel.

Consider this a version of pay-it-forward. When others see you taking the time to share a story about a friend you helped, or thanking a friend who helped you, they might just feel the urge to do the same.

Wise Friends Wednesday

friendship challenge wise friends wednesday

Today, post your favorite quote about friendship and tag your friends. Challenge them to do the same with their favorite friendship quote.

Why is this important? Motivational quotes have a way of succinctly conveying wisdom in a clever way. The National Institutes of Health even conducted a study about how motivational quotes help those with low self-esteem or have chronic illnesses.

Throwback Thursday

friendship challenge throwback thursday

On Thursday, find and post an image of you and your friend enjoying an activity from your past. It could be a candid moment from a high school or college activity, a weekend trip, or a memorable party. Just pick something that’ll elicit some surprise reactions – in a good way of course!

Most social media platforms provide “memories” for anniversaries of posts you created years ago, helping you to find images much easier. One of the many ways we retain friendships is through special moments we share from our past, so this is a great way to relive a memory with a dear friend.

Fab Friend Friday

friendship challenge fab friend friday

On the fourth day of the Friendship Challenge, share a photo of you and your best friend. Maybe one you’ve held close through the years, or one you met as an adult, or a best friend from the office.

If you just have one best friend, consider yourself lucky. Sometimes that’s all you need. Others may have variations on their best friend. Regardless of how the person became your best friend, celebrate the gift of their friendship on Friday and let them know what they mean to you.

Send a Smile Saturday

friendship challenge smile saturday

Today’s the day to reconnect with friends you miss. Surprise them with an e-card or another gesture that shows you’re thinking of them.

All too often, we can be reluctant to tell someone how much we miss them. It’s nice to take the opportunity to let them know that we’re thinking about them, and that there’s a gap in our lives because we haven’t seen them in a long time. Reaching out and telling someone you miss them, might prompt a reunion!

International Friendship Day

friendship challenge international day

Sunday is International Friendship Day! Tell us how you’ve reconnected with a friend, whether it’s someone you haven’t seen for some time and that you miss, or a friend from work who makes every day brighter for you. In next week’s Celebrations Pulse, we will share back your stories about friendship to help celebrate International Friendship Day.

Remember that hearing from you just might make their day. Don’t be afraid to reach out, even if it’s been a while. One of the gifts of friendships is that they only go away if you don’t cultivate them.

All the best,



Jim McCann is the founder, CEO, and chairman of 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc. as well as a business leader, author, and philanthropist with a passion for helping people deliver smiles. Devoted to helping others, he also founded Smile Farms, a 501(c)3 organization that provides meaningful jobs in agricultural settings to young adults and adults with developmental disabilities.

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