Galentine's Day: Forget Valentine's and celebrate your best friend

More and more people are spending 13 February toasting to their closest friends

Susie Coen
Thursday 11 February 2016 16:43
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I live with the love of my life. We’ve been together since we were eight; we have matching red fluffy dressing gowns; we have a rule that the first one up makes the other a cup of tea and we get ratty if we don’t see each other for a few days.

To celebrate our companionship this weekend we’re going for bottomless brunch: we’ll probably stare into each other’s eyes, as our vision gets steadily blurrier with each Bellini. And we’ll probably confess how much we love each other and can’t remember life before we met.

Contrary to what you might think, I’m not talking about Valentine’s Day, but Galentine’s Day, and my soul mate is not my boyfriend, but my best friend.

Galentine’s Day is a recent craze where you spend the day celebrating your female friendships, as opposed to romantic relationships, on 13 February.

The occasion caught on after 2010, when Amy Poehler's character Leslie in the TV show Parks and Recreation threw her annual Galentine's party for her female friends. Since then it has gone from strength to strength, prompting women to send each other flowers, cards and gifts to show their appreciation of one another. Isn’t that, well, just the best thing ever really?

This year my Twitter feed has been packed with references to Galentine’s Day, from guides about what presents to buy to expressions of glee about how excited people are to celebrate it:

But friends aren't just great for enjoying yourself with, and there are actual health benefits to having solid relationships. Having meaningful friendships has been linked to feeling less stressed and anxious, according to the Mayo Clinic. Furthermore, a 2013 study in Canada found a positive correlation between the number of real-life friends a person has and their well-being, regardless of a person's income or demographic. So, yeah, friendship really is something that should be celebrated.

This time last year, my best friend Abby and I both had boyfriends. We were so wrapped up in our own relationships that we hardly made time to see each other. Strangely enough, we both broke up with our partners within a month of each other.

What we imagined might turn into the opening scene of Bridget Jones's Diary - where she sits alone in her pajamas listening to Celine Dion's 'All By Myself' - actually ended up being the best thing ever. Being single definitely does not mean being unhappy, as demonstrated by the Mexican illustrator Idalia Candelas who drew images of women enjoying single life.

Abby and I agree that the single life is a bloody dream. When we’re out, we don’t have to think about anyone else. We don’t have pointless arguments that leave us in foul moods for the rest of the day, and if we get a little lonely on a Sunday evening we always have each other to watch episodes of The Inbetweeners with.

But, Galentine’s Day isn’t exclusively for single ladies, if you’re married or in a relationship you can still join in the festivities and get together with your friends to appreciate one another.

Convinced? I thought so. If you’re in need of some inspiration on how to spend this special day, here are five ideas to get the ball rolling.

Bottomless brunch

Eggs benedict + unlimited Prosecco/Bloody Marys = pretty much the best way you can spend a Saturday morning.

Go on a day trip

This doesn’t have to be expensive of exotic, but get on a cheap train/bus to a part of the UK you haven’t been to before and spend the day exploring.

Learn something new

This could include anything from being taught how to create top range nigiri sushi rolls to making each other flower crowns at an arts and crafts class, or going to an art gallery.

Get a bottle of wine and watch chick flicks

There’s something weirdly sadomasochistic about this but it also doesn’t get old.

Spend the day with a pup

Sign up to the website Borrow My Doggy and go for a walk round the park with your besties and your new furry friend.

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