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Why We Should Celebrate Galentine's Day Instead

I still remember the feeling of staying up late to handwrite Valentine's Day cards for every kid in my class. As a 3rd grader, my goals for Valentine's were much akin to Halloween: get as much candy as possible. At that age the focus wasn't on romance, but friendship and simply celebrating the act of showing others we cared.

Based on current relationship research, it's time we place the focus back on friendship. In 2021, 12% of U.S. adults stated they didn't have any close friends, up from 3% in 1990. Loneliness comes with serious risks, some even more serious than missing out on those chalk flavored candied hearts.

One study even showed that people with no friends or poor quality friendships are twice as likely to die prematurely than people who smoke 20 cigarettes a day.

For me, that's enough to take a page out of Leslie Knope's book and start to look for ways to foster, strengthen, and celebrate friendships. American culture places so much focus on romance, or missing out on romance, that maybe we are overlooking our need for friendship.

The good news is we are just as capable of fostering friendship at age 82 as we are age 18 or 8. Demonstrating empathy and vulnerability are great ways to strengthen friendships, but a deep heart-to-heart with your lifelong bestie isn't the only way to create or sustain friendship.

Giving compliments to strangers, asking your local barista about their day, or talking about the weather in an elevator are all proven ways to harness the power of social connection.

February 14th will always be for the lovers, but let's take one back for the friends. Happy Galentine's (or Guysintine's???) Day everybody.


Galentine's Day was imagined into existence by the creators of Parks and Recreation and brought to life by Amy Poehler's character Leslie Knope.


Give a compliment to a stranger this week.


Which qualities makes you a good friend?


"We need to remember what's important in life. Friends, waffles, work." -Leslie Knope

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