Breathe is abuzz now summer’s well and truly here. There are books to be read, ice creams to be eaten, beaches and gardens to be explored and, well, general lazing to be done. That’s the usual plan. 

But this year is going to be slightly different. Alongside the much-anticipated summer treats are new intentions: being more mindful about how to start and live each day, being more grateful for all the little things in life that can make such a big difference and being more aware of – and reaching out to – other people. Not just friends and family, but people we don’t know yet. Strangers. 

It won’t be easy. In fact, it’s slightly terrifying. But sometimes a person or event encourages you to see things in a different light and realise that perhaps you can make a difference, however small it may seem. In her moving piece, Christine Boggis highlights what many are calling the UK’s ‘loneliness epidemic’ and suggests ways that everyone can help to alleviate this heart-breaking and sometimes life-threatening state that affects so many people up and down the country. 

One man who is already supporting the call to reach out is former celebrity photographer Duncan Raban. His campaign for people the world over to just say hello to each other has already made him a raft of new friends and myriad amazing stories. 

And after you’ve just said hello? There’s so much to chat about – the talk at Breathe is all about bees, flowers, bookshops, artist Natasha Newton’s gorgeous stone paintings and even the much-maligned and often misunderstood art of poetry. 

But whatever you talk about, and whoever you talk to, be true to yourself. In all friendships, old or new, it’s important to nurture and tend the people who allow you to be You – quirks and all.