Jan Yager, Ph.D.

(Sunday, May 16 through Saturday, May 22, 2010)

A week to celebrate (and reconnect) with old friends and new friends and to remember how vital friends -- casual, close, and best -- are for our emotional and physical well-being and even our school, professional, or career success. Friendshifts® is the word coined by author and sociologist Jan Yager, Ph.D. to denote the way our ideas about friendship, and sometimes even who are friends are, may change as we go through the different stages in life. But at every stage, friendship is crucial, for boys, for girls, for men, for women, children, young adults, new mothers, the middle-aged, and especially for those who are older and retired or widowed. This annual event, started by Dr. Jan Yager in 1997, begins each year on the Sunday after Mother's Day and lasts one week.

Here are some examples of how National New Friends, Old Friends Week has been celebrated over the years:

  • The 13 Card "Friendship Pack" went on sale in May one year on the first day of "National Old Friend, New Friend Week." (For more information, go to: www.dogcaptions.com)
  • For three years, the web site http://www.neatwomeninc.com sponsored a Friend Ship/Friendshifts® contest. Prizes include signed copies of Friendshifts® as well as three different Friendship Baskets created by http://www.giftbasketgallery.com. (Friendship baskets are available as gifts throughout the year.)
  • Friendship cafes at 17 senior centers through Virginia highlighed the importance of friendship.
  • A Florida Adult Day Care Center scheduled an activity that week around the topic of friendship and friendshifts®
  • A day camp director incorporated the theme of New Friends, Old Friends into his six-week camp with that theme is the "total focus" for one week.
  • For 2001, the Supervisory Librarian of Fleet Activities for the U.S. Navy Base, Japan Base Library, Yokosuka, Japan had a luncheon as part of National New Friends, Old Friends Week including a panel discussion on friendship experiences as navy spouses. Previously, in 2000, she prepared a handout providing resources on friends--finding lost friends, ways to keep up, maintain, find, or nurture friendships; resources for any friendship programs; as well as a luncheon program and suggesting "take a friend to lunch" especially during that week.
  • A housing facility for disabled adults in Pennsylvania celebrated the week with their residents and staff members.
  • The head of a social service association, based in Germany, celebrated by getting together with her current friends in the city in Germany where she lives. In 2000, she went away for the week to the town where she previously lived and scheduled a get together each day with a different old friend.
  • Dr. Yager has been interviewed by the media, or facilitated discussions about the importance of friendship during that week including a 1999 presentation to 8-10 year old boys and girls at an afterschool program. For 2005, she organized a Girls Night Out during National New Friends, Old Friends Week with her friends at a restaurant in Manhattan.

Have you thought about doing something special with your friends during National New Friends, Old Friends Week? A reunion, if possible, especially if you do not see eachother often, might be a joyful way to reconnect.

But if you or your friend are unable to spend time together, face to face, there are other ways you could let your friend or friends know that each friendship is valuable to you. Here are just a few suggestions: Sending a card, talking by phone, writing a letter, exchanging gifts, communicating via e-mail, sharing memories as you build new ones, reading the same book, or going to see the same movie, and discussing your reactions to it. What are some ways of celebrating, in person or from a distance, that you are planning for your newer and older friendships?

Of course it's important to remember and celebrate our close or best friends (and even our casual friends) all year round, but this annual event just helps remind us all how we should never take our old friends for granted or stop developing or cultivating new friends.

For a planning guide created by Dr. Jan Yager to help you to organize an event or activity in celebration of NATIONAL NEW FRIENDS, OLD FRIENDS WEEK, click here.

For more information about National New Friends, Old Friends Week contact: Jan Yager, Ph.D., P.O. Box 8038, Stamford, CT 06905-8038. Fax (203) 968-0193 E-mail: jyager@aol.com Web sites: http://www.JanYager.com, http://www.JanYager.com/friendship and http://www.whenfriendshiphurts.com (For more information on friendship, see Dr. Yager’s book, Friendshifts®: The Power of Friendship and How It Shapes Our Lives (Hannacroix Creek Books, 2nd edition, 1999) and Friendship Journal: Selected Quotes about Friendship from Friendshifts® and a Journal (Hannacroix Creek Books, Inc., 2000), available in trade paperback or hardcover at local or online bookstores or through Book Clearing House, 1-800-431-1579 or http://www.bookch.com).

Dr. Jan Yager is also the author of When Friendship Hurts: How to Deal With Friends Who Betray, Abandon, or Wound You (Simon and Schuster, July 2002), an original FIRESIDE trade paperback available at local or online bookstores. In Who's That Sitting at My Desk? (Hannacroix Creek Books, Inc., 2004) by Dr. Jan Yager, you will also find an in-depth discussion of work relationships, including work and friendship, based on her original international survey of 400 men and women and 100+ phone or in-person interviews.

Speaker · Consultant · Author · Trainer
Jan Yager, Ph.D. 1127 High Ridge RD, PMB #110, Stamford, CT 06905-1203· Phone: 203-968-8098  Fax: 203-968-0193 · E-mail: jyager@aol.com · Web Sites: http://www.JanYager.com and http://www.JanYager.com/friendship and http://www.whenfriendshiphurts.com