First proposed by the World Friendship Crusade in 1958, July 30 is celebrated around the world as International Day of Friendship.
The International Day of Friendship was proclaimed in 2011 by the United Nations General Assembly with the concept that friendships – whether they are between peoples, countries, cultures and individuals can inspire peace efforts and build bridges.
Author Michelle Kwan said, “If you have nothing in life but a good friend, you’re rich,” – and no truer words can be said about many a friendship.
In conjunction with this upcoming special day, we spoke to two pairs of besties who gave us the lowdown on their friendship, how it came to be and how they make it work.
Turn up at just about any fashion or beauty event in the Klang Valley and you’ll likely spot fast friends Chenelle Wen and Xinle Chai taking selfies, posing for photos against the photowall or “instagrammable” backgrounds at the venue, perfectly made-up and dressed in stylish garments from the latest seasons.
Their Instagram pages are littered with pictures together – and while it may appear superficial to many, their friendship runs much deeper.
The 29-year-old influencers and best buddies’ friendship goes back to their university days, where Wen was studying architectural science and Chai was doing a degree in information technology at Taylor’s University.
Despite attending different classes, they somehow found a connection the first time they met.
We lived at the same unit in the university hostel. We clicked instantly! She was quite an introvert and I introduced myself to her, but these days she’s gotten so talkative,” recalls Chai, an actress and influencer from Johor.
Wen, who hails from Kedah, blogs about travel, beauty and fashion and also owns an online jewellery business and travels monthly for work.
“Xinle has a cheerful personality and I feel comfortable being around her,” says Wen.
After graduating the girls lost contact and went about their separate lives – Wen worked at a digital marketing agency and Chai had a marketing job before she got signed to a modelling agency.
Years later, fate brought them back together.
“We lost contact for about five years, and one day when I was driving in my condo carpark I received a text from her,” relates Chai. “It turned out we actually lived in the same building! I really do believe in fate.
“After that we began hanging out together a lot, attending events, going for drinks and meals, shopping, laughing and crying together,” she adds.
“We can do any activity as long as we’re spending time together,” says Chai.
Throughout their friendship both girls have supported each other through thick and thin. When a relationship ended for Wen, Chai stayed over at her place and they talked through the night.
“She’s a happy-go-lucky kind of girl, so I felt the positive vibe being around her. She’s basically my mood booster,” says Wen.
These days as they grow closer they are discovering they have more in common than they had previously realised.
“We both like makeup and skin care! In terms of style, Xinle is more feminine and I’m more minimalist,” Wen relates.
What makes their friendship work? “I think it’s not only about keeping in touch, also having faith in our friendship. Of course, both of us are influencers, so we both always attend events together!” says Wen.
“Friends are like part of the family. They will always be there for you, and true friends are the ones who lift you up when no one else has noticed you’ve fallen,” she adds.
Chai opines: “It’s about trust and honesty … friendship is about two people being themselves and enjoying each other to the hilt! We share our secrets and our stories, and are there for each other during the ups and downs.”