• 3-minute read
  • 30th July 2020

5 Friendly Phrases for the International Day of Friendship

The UN’s first Ambassador for Friendship, Winnie the Pooh, once said, “a day without a friend is like a pot without a single drop of honey left inside.” And as today (July 30) is the UN’s International Day of Friendship, we’ve found five friendship-based phrases you might want to use in your writing.

1. Build bridges

The idiom “build bridges” means “promote friendly relations between people who are very different.” As such, it is the perfect phrase for today:

The UN started the International Day of Friendship to build bridges between people, communities and nations across the world.

Nobody knows where this phrase came from, but the image of “building a bridge” to connect people is effective, leading to its use in modern English.

2. A Friend in Need Is a Friend Indeed

Most often, people use the phrase “a friend in need is a friend indeed” to mean that a friend who helps you when you are “in need” is, indeed, a true friend. However, others take it to mean that a friend in need is a friend “in deed” (i.e., that you know a true friend by their actions).

The oldest version of this phrase points to the first version. The Roman poet Quintus Ennius, for instance, wrote that amicus certus in re incerta cernitur (i.e., “a sure friend is known when in difficulty”).

We see the second version, meanwhile, in the 15th-century play Everyman:

Fellowship: Sire, I say as I will do in deed.

Everyman: Then be you a good friend at need.

Both interpretations are valid, but the first is far more common nowadays.

3. Have Your Back

A good friend will always “have your back,” which means to be prepared to support someone. For instance, we could say:

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No matter the circumstances, John always has my back.

The phrase may have originated from soldiers working in pairs to cover each other’s backs in combat, but it is now an everyday idiom.

4. Fair-Weather Friend

A “fair-weather friend” is the opposite of a friend who “has your back.” This phrase refers to a friend who cannot be relied on in difficult times:

He was a fair-weather friend and ignored me after I lost my job.

The image this image draws on is of a friend who is happy to be around when the weather is fine, but who disappears completely when it rains!

5. Man’s Best Friend

Humans have lived and worked with dogs for thousands of years. And, for many people, a pet dog is a friend who offers complete adoration in good times and bad. This may be why dogs are also known as “man’s best friend”:

A dog is man’s best friend, always faithful and loyal to its owner.

Many associate this phrase with Frederick the Great of Prussia, who once said an Italian greyhound was his “best friend.” But it only caught on in 1941 when the American poet Ogden Nash wrote “An Introduction to Dogs.”

What are your favorite friendship-based phrases? Let us know in the comments below! And wherever you are, we hope you enjoy your International Day of Friendship. To be sure that you are using these phrases correctly in your writing, moreover, why not try our proofreading services?

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