Fun fact: I met one of my closest girlfriends on Valentine’s Day.
A mutual friend had connected us, suggesting we’d be a good match. After a somewhat awkward text exchange, Shermeen and I concluded that, being busy single ladies, Valentine’s Day was the only night we both had free. Go figure.
So we met at a taco place (the least romantic setting we could think of, free of smug couples), totally hit it off, and the rest is history. She came to my bachelorette party the other weekend and when I introduced her to the other ladies, we laughed about how unusual our cute-meet was.
It wasn’t the first time I’d spent Valentine’s Day in the company of my fellow dudettes; I’ve been known to decorate handmade cards and bake goodies for my girlfriends. I believe everyone should feel the love on Valentine’s Day. In fact, I think female friendships should especially be celebrated. So when superwoman Leslie Knope, the leading lady of my favorite show “Parks and Rec” invented the aptly named Galentine’s Day, celebrated the day before Valentine’s Day, I was thrilled.
I love this because it doesn’t suggest that your female friends should compete with your main flame, but rather that each relationship contributes to your happiness. You can’t have one without the other. And as a soon-to-be military spouse, I feel especially lucky to join an exceptionally strong sisterhood and hopefully make even more fantastic friends.
My bachelorette party served as a reminder for me to celebrate Galentine’s Day again this year. Sitting around in our PJs, laughing about everything, I took inventory of this motley crew I’d collected over the years.
Lara and I met mourning the death of a close friend. Traveling from San Antonio to Mississippi to San Diego and back, we leaned on each other and cried in bathrooms together.
I met Ali on my second day in Germany at a German language class, and we spent the rest of our time in Europe navigating both the language and other countries.
Sam and I became soul sisters through our mutual love of running and elephants after meeting at a football party with my alumni club. I met Alli there, too. Neither of them are actually alumni of my alma mater.
All of them are dear to me and worthy of celebration in their own right. Years later, despite being spread to far corners of the earth, we’re still friends. I’m sure you have some too – and like any relationship, they need TLC.
So before you settle in with your honey this Valentine’s Day — or not, single ladies! — send some love to your female friends: the ones who have seen you at your worst and still love you, know all your dirty secrets and can giggle about girly things with you over a glass of wine. This Galentine’s Day, make sure your girlfriends feel the love, too.
Shayna Brouker is an almost-Army wife, Navy brat and fitness enthusiast. She lives with her cat named Kitty and Army fiancé in Tampa, Florida, and has a weakness for macarons and other cute French things, including bulldogs.
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