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How to Safely Celebrate Your Platonic Relationships This Valentine’s Day

By Dana Hamilton

Nearly two years into this lonely, distanced pandemic, the chance to celebrate your platonic relationships this Galentine’s (or Palentine’s) Day couldn’t come at a better time. “There are still some people who see it as a secondary, consolation prize for women who don’t have a romantic partner,” Danielle Bayard Jackson, friendship coach, says. “[But] even married or partnered people should be taking time to intentionally celebrate platonic love because we do not freakin’ do that enough.”

Why is Valentine’s for friends important? “There’s research that shows our platonic relationships have a greater impact on our overall life satisfaction than our romantic relationships,” Bayard Jackson says. “It’s proven that our relationships with our friends last longer on average than our romantic relationships.” 

The way you might celebrate these statistically more satisfying (and enduring) relationships depends on your friend or group’s vibe. So if you need some inspiration for your Galentine’s Day celebrations this year, keep reading! 

Find a new way to love Zoom again

For a group celebration, you might organize a Zoom PowerPoint party with a twist: everyone picks a friend Secret Santa-style to do a quick, goofy, loving, and complimentary PowerPoint presentation on. “When’s the last time you heard ‘This is why I’m proud of you’ or ‘This is why I’m happy to have you in my life’?” asks Bayard Jackson.

Plan an Instagram-worthy picnic

Use some of those charcuterie boards you saved on Instagram as a model and have a picnic outside with friends or over FaceTime. Let a luxury picnic company like Bliss Beach create a custom socially-distanced setup for you and your pod—complete with food, flowers, pillows, and heaters. Or, make your own hot chocolate and spread out a bunch of blankets if you have the space (and climate) for an outdoor movie night.

Get out of the house (safely)

If you and your travel bud(s) are missing your adventures together, plan a phone date to compile a list of dream vacation destinations together while perusing Google Earth, or spring for a special Zoom meet-and-greet with koalas in Australia or a tour of castles in Ireland from virtual travel platforms like Beeyonder

Don’t forget your work friends 

If you want to celebrate Galentine’s Day with your work friends, corporate event planner Chelsea Gillyard suggests asking your team lead or HR liaison to devote some funds to a morale-boosting activity. “One year into the pandemic, we’re still spending most of our days with our coworkers—whether it be on Zoom or in person,” she says. “Our coworkers have hopefully been helping us through the stress of the pandemic and deserve some recognition, too.” Opt for a virtual event like Paint and Sip Live, which will match you with an art instructor and mail all painting materials to you and your friends’ homes.

Just pick up the phone 

Okay, let’s say these ideas all sound great, but you simply don’t have the time or energy to organize a whole THING. Don’t worry, it doesn’t take much to honor that friendship if you just can’t bring yourself out of the pandemic funk to do anything at all. Just get on the phone and check on your friends. “New research is showing that a 10 minute audio-only phone call can be better than a Zoom call [which] can feel restrictive or like we have to be ‘on,’ even if we’re with our friends,” explains Bayard Jackson. 

Do whatever works for you. My best friend, or Galentine, and I (who are both partnered) decided to buy Crocs and decorate them for each other with the most ridiculous shoe charms we could find because, well, it seemed like the most appropriate way to honor us. May our Crocs be like our friendship: bright (mine are sunshine yellow), super weird, and definitely unforgettable.