5 Ways to Celebrate Your Friendships on Galentine’s Day

I’m a bit of a Valentine’s Day grump- the focus is on physical gifts, which isn’t my “Love Language”. Really, the most romantic Valentine’s Day gift I ever received was when my then-boyfriend-now-husband helped me move my belongings from Boston to DC on a Feb 14th.

Beyond my individual experience, the implication from movies and other media that women should feel bad about themselves if they don’t have a date on this one day of the year sends a pretty damaging message to young women.

Enter Amy Poehler– the smart and funny SNL alumnus who used her gifts in comedy to embody the one, the only Leslie Knope of the series Parks and Recreation, a “mid-level bureaucrat” in a small midwestern town who is passionate about public service.

Knope is also the ‘author’ of the brilliant Galentine’s Day (February 13th), when women come together to celebrate each other, regardless of whether they are single, dating, or married. As someone in public service, I appreciate the show’s comical (yet sometimes scarily accurate) spin on bureaucracy but also the portrayal of female relationships as a positive, enriching and critical part of personal and professional success.

As life gets busy with the pursuit of careers and care-taking responsibilities, it’s important to continue to feed your friendships as an integral part of a well-rounded, happy life. At work, creating new bonds can be critical to your career advancement; many of my career wins have been supported by strong relationships with female coworkers, and it certainly makes for a more pleasant environment when you can have each others’ backs and provide support when the inevitable setbacks occur.

So in order to help you celebrate, here are some quick and relatively inexpensive ways to show some Galentine’s Day love:

  1. A GIF: Fast and easy, but who can resist a “ovaries before brovaries” reference?
  2. A card: Go old school and mail your friend a card, or leave it on your coworker’s chair. In a few words, tell her why you are grateful she is a part of your life. Co-opting a traditional Valentine’s Day card will do, but I’m keen on these Rebel Girls cards with beautiful illustrations of inspiring women.
  3. A call: Also old school and extra special because most people don’t leave messages anymore. Take a minute to say hi or leave a voicemail with “three reasons why you rock” for your friend to replay for guaranteed smiles.
  4. Happy Hour: Meet up after work and make it a true “happy hour”: Rather than using the bar napkin to score digits, write down one thing that makes you happy about a person there and slip her the note.
  5. Binge Watch Bingo: Pick a favorite fun-to-watch show with a strong female lead (thank you, Shonda Rhimes) and make bingo cards with some of the most-repeated phrases or scenes (e.g., ugly cry, shot of a DC monument). Bonus: Even if your friends are spread around the country or world, you can cue up Netflix at the same time and play along with a conference chat.

How about you? Share your ideas for Galentine’s Day below and let at least one woman this week know why you’re grateful for her presence in your life!

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