Advice, Life

A Galentine’s day guide: how to tell your friends you love them, today and every day

Cheers to your gal pals!

Happy Galentine’s Day! The brainchild of future American president Leslie Knope of the TV show Parks and Recreation, Galentine’s is the more introverted, less mass-capitalized cousin of Valentine’s Day. It’s a day dedicated to one of my most favorite things: female friendships.

Female friendships basically sustain me, which is why I am 100% on board with a whole day of celebrating them. I could do it on Valentine’s Day, but while Valentine’s Day has long been associated with gestures and emotions that are big and intense and theatrical, friendships are usually the opposite. They’re a thousand quiet, consistent words and gestures practiced for months and years, all layered over one another until they form the safest of safe spaces, the most comfortable place to rest. And the people who create that space for you deserve a day (or several) all to themselves.

So here I present to you a 2019 Galentine’s Guide, a list of all the things you can do today and forevermore to show your friends you love them. Welcome to the antithesis to Grand Romantic Gestures: Everyday Platonic Gestures.

1. Proofread an email/CV/essay (and apply relevant edits)

A cartoon middle-aged man (Peter Griffin from the TV show Family Guy is seated at a desk. He has long, red acrylic nails on and is typing at a computer.
[Image description: A cartoon middle-aged man (Peter Griffin from the TV show Family Guy) is seated at a desk. He has long, red acrylic nails on and is typing at a computer.] Via Giphy.

Nothing says ‘I love you and care about your professional growth and success’ like some dedicated proofreading. When you take time out of your day to look over an essay or a cover letter, make some edits, and send back some supportive feedback, you’re telling your friends that you’re invested in their success and betterment. Giving someone your time and brainpower when both are in high demand is the ultimate gesture of friendship.

2. Send pet pictures.

A white, fluffy cat is laying on the floor with its paws stretched out over its head. It is opening up and closing each paw alternatively.
[Image description: A white, fluffy cat is laying on the floor with its paws stretched out over its head. It is opening up and closing each paw alternatively.] Via Giphy.

Speaking from experience, the worst thing about leaving home to go to university is missing your pets. A lot of my friends are still away at university, far from their fur-babies, so I often take it upon myself to send them pictures of mine as a little pick-me-up. Science says pets can reduce stress and anxiety, citing a close-up of photo of my cat’s paws as proof (not really, but they should).

3. Tag them in a meme.

A man with dark hair and tan skin faces the camera and mimes drawing a heart with his two index fingers while mouthing the words "I love you."
[Image description: A man with dark hair and tan skin faces the camera and mimes drawing a heart with his two index fingers while mouthing the words “I love you.”] Via Giphy.

Meme-tags are the modern-day love-letter. They say, ‘hi I saw this video of a raccoon sitting in the kid’s seat of a grocery cart and it reminded me of you’, which is a lot more heartwarming than it sounds.

4. Ask for their opinion.

A woman with long blonde hair screams frustratedly into the camera, "THAT'S MY OPINION!"
[Image description: A woman with long blonde hair screams frustratedly into the camera, “THAT’S MY OPINION!”]

In any friend group, each person has a niche specialty: The Horoscope Friend, the DIY-Face-Mask Friend, the How-To-Wear-Crop-Tops-As-Formalwear Friend. Know your friends’ respective skillsets and tap into them often. It’s always nice to feel needed and wanted, especially if you’re able to contribute something unique to your knowledge and experience. Not sure if its too soon in your relationship to use the eggplant emoji? Ask your Emoji-Ettiquette Friend!

5. Tell them you’re proud of them

A man grabs another man by his neck and pecks him on the lips repeatedly while saying, 'So proud!'. A blonde woman in a collared shirt and pink cardigan watches them fondly.
[Image description: A man grabs another man by his neck and pecks him on the lips repeatedly while exclaiming, ‘So proud!’. A blonde woman in a collared shirt and pink cardigan watches them fondly.] Via Giphy.

‘I love you’ is nice, but I like to reserve it specifically for birthday cards and random girls in club bathrooms. Someone telling you they’re proud of you is the nicest feeling in the world, because it means they’ve been paying attention to where you were then, where you are now and everything in-between. Recognizing someone’s personal or professional progress is both validating and encouraging, so do it as often as you can.

6. Say nice things behind their backs

A woman with short brown hair in pigtails looks directly at the camera and says enthusiastically, 'Regina George is flawless.'
[Image description: A woman with short brown hair in pigtails looks directly at the camera and says enthusiastically, ‘Regina George is flawless.’] Via Giphy.

Please kindly don’t ask me about my friends unless you would like to listen to me speak uninterrupted for many minutes, pausing only to show you a photo slideshow of the highlights of our 8-year friendship. Boast about their achievements and show everyone that one meme they made that you thought was really funny. They deserve the publicity.

I hope you had a great Galentine’s Day, one and all! And feel free to send this article to the group chat as a subtle hint if you need to.