Valentine’s Day is a weird day. If you have a person, the two of you will probably put some sort of date together after both protesting, loudly and with a laugh-cough apiece, that Valentine’s Day isn’t a big deal for you, but you guess you might as well do something. If you don’t have a person, you might plan an evening of scratching out your ex’s eyes in all your photos together. Or something.
The point is, nobody really seems to like it all that much, all fondness likely stripped away after one too many years spent single, but it has this weird and often negative power anyway. There’s a non-zero chance that the words “Valentine’s Day” fill you with resentment at past loves, at the world, at yourself. It’s not the greatest.
Enter television. In 2010, in a bid to keep the misery and cold of February out of our souls, the fabulous team at Parks and Recreation offered the world a new special day: Galentine’s Day, to be celebrated on February 13. There were no sweethearts or grand gestures required or expected – just some gal pals who wanted to share their friend love with each other. Galentine’s Day was an instant hit and is now a real thing that real people really celebrate. Over time, the idea has even morphed in some circles into “Palentine’s Day.” Non-gendered friend love for all!
Leslie Knope invented Galentine's Day to celebrate her gal pals every February 13
There are a couple of reasons why this day is probably a great substitute for Feb. 14. First of all, most of those who just can’t seem to catch a break when it comes to romance will have someone with whom Palentine's Day could be celebrated. It’s a day that is largely about social connection itself, and whether you’ve had the same friends since high school; are very close with your siblings, parents, or cousins; or have a great friend you made online somewhere, it’s a special thing. Why not celebrate it?
Second, it’s a great opportunity to do a little cognitive restructuring. Too many people have too hard of a time managing the dark thoughts that run through their heads on a regular day, and being single on a day that is supposed to celebrate togetherness can feel like having a bucket of black tar thrown into the mix. Choosing to celebrate a day that asks us to focus instead on the positive, on great relationships with great people who are in our lives, might just be the perfect antidote. There’s research that shows there’s a link between gratitude and wellbeing, and a day all about being grateful for the people who matter most to us might just be a great way to cultivate a little extra wellness.
Galentine’s Day, Palentine’s day – whichever variant appeals more to you – is today. Why not reach out, tell the people you love that you think they’re swell, maybe have an impromptu get-together? They’ll probably appreciate the gesture, and odds are good that it’ll make you feel good, too. It could be just what you need to make this time of year a little cheerier.
Do you have something you need to get off your chest?
and tell us about it.