It’s International Friendship Day—a great day for celebrating the fact that best friends make the world a better place. But honoring your besties one day a year doesn’t seem like nearly enough time. That’s why my friends and I started celebrating our own monthly best friend holiday.
Here’s a little backstory: Everyone knows YOLO (You Only Live Once), but it should also be noted that YFOLO (Your Friend Only Lives Once). Two of my friends, Jacqui Maleski and Sarah Coyle, first dreamed up this holiday last year, and ever since, we’ve been celebrating it the first Thursday of every month. Honoring the sacredness of friendship and acknowledging that our friends only live once, we each choose a particular friend every YFOLO and do something nice for her, like cook her favorite meal, or buy her a new record. It’s a cute and thoughtful way to regularly respect and appreciate the friendships in our lives.
The origin story of YFOLO can best be described my buddy, Jacqui, who co-invented the holiday: “I had just moved to Austin for grad school and didn’t know anyone. I’ve always been a pretty independent person, but I suddenly missed all of my friends and family from Georgia so much more than I could have ever expected,” she explained.
Things got a lot better for her when she met our pal Sarah, and together they came up with YFOLO.
“Sarah and I got along really well right off the bat and it soon became clear to me that she was the only girl I had ever met who might be cooler than I am (according to my own personal standards),” Jacqui told me. “The whole experience taught me just how valuable those people are in your life and how much they contribute to your personal happiness. YFOLO is sort of about that for me. It makes me happy to share how happy other people make me.”
Agreed. It seems that YFOLO succeeds where many holidays miss the mark. Sure, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and birthdays are great opportunities to give gifts to friends and show that you care, but none of these pre-existing holidays create a space or bubble intended for just you and your friend. It’s like an unexpected friendship honeymoon that could sweep you off your feet every month.
One YFOLO, Jacqui and Sarah snuck into their office late at night to leave flowers, candy, and Flaming Hot Doritos for their friend and co-worker who was preparing to take an important exam. That element of surprise is part of what makes YFOLO so special.
The point of YFOLO is simply to show you care, and there’s no formula for caring. As my YFOLO guru, Jacqui, says: “All you have to do is acknowledge how special your friends are. You don’t have to buy them anything! Maybe just give them a call and say, ‘Happy YFOLO!’”
Perhaps you’ve been celebrating YFOLO all along, in your own way, sans title, and if so, that’s great! But for a deadline driven person like myself, having a specific date set aside for this celebration each month helps ensure that my ideas and good intentions actually come to fruition. It’s easy to dream up all the nice things you’d like to do for your friends, but making them a reality is another thing entirely.
Logically, we know that our friends love us, and they enjoy our company, or else they wouldn’t bother spending time with us. But those little reminders that we’re loved and appreciated can really get us through a hard month. Because it’s not always blatantly obvious when someone is going through a tough time, your YFOLO acknowledgment might mean more to your friend than you could possibly imagine. So treat yo’ friend. They only live once, after all.
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