CS Lewis once wrote that friendship “is born at the moment when one [person] says to another: ‘What! You too? I thought that no one but myself…’ ”.

Thursday, 30 July is International Day of Friendship, which celebrates the power of trust and kindness. As the UN puts it, friendship can help the world to achieve “lasting stability, weave a safety net that will protect us all, and generate passion for a better world where all are united for the greater good”.

In other words, if we care about the people around us, we will care what happens to them – and we will be more likely to fight for a world in which they can be safe and happy.

Friendship is also good for our own health and wellbeing. Having a friend to talk to about our problems is one of the best defences against despair. A friend will listen to our feelings, give us advice, and offer sympathy. They may share their own experiences so that we feel less alone. A true friend will warn us if we are going off track, and stick by us despite the mistakes we make.

Or, as American writer Elbert Hubbard once put it, “A friend is someone who knows all about you and still loves you.”

How do you define friendship? And why is it important?

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What is the purpose of friendship? The School of Life puts forward an interesting perspective in this video. Do you agree with the four types of friends mentioned? Does friendship need to have a “purpose” at all?


  1. As a class, take it in turns to complete the sentence: “A friend is…” Write the answers on a whiteboard or piece of paper. Are there any common themes?
  2. Books, films, and TV shows are filled with inspiring friendships. Discuss your favourite fictional friends with the person next to you.
  3. Write a poem or short story on the theme of friendship.