For those of you who’ve stuck around long enough to have read my last year’s Valentine’s Day post (sending you much love for doing so), you’ll likely be familiar with my alternative way of celebrating Valentine’s Day, aka friendship appreciation day.
In short, whether I’m with bae or no bae, Valentine’s Day is always a day where I like to show my family and friends just how much I appreciate them. Capitalism tells us we should appreciate our significant others by lavishing greeting cards, candy, food, flowers, and hearts upon them — so why not people who’re just friends, too?
According to Time, Americans spend about $19.7 billion on Valentine’s Day for their significant others, their spouses, their children, their pets (even this avid plush animal owner is shocked at this one), and, yes their friends. But of course, the average American won’t blow nearly as much money on all the categories of people after the first two (significant other and spouse). Nope, the average amount of money spent on everyone who’s not a significant other is only about $28.
If we’re talking $28 for everyone, collectively… That’s doable. I’d spend $28 on my friends.
Here’s the kicker though. Want to guess how much money the average person spends on their s/o?
Oh my friends, dear friends, forgive me. For I’m not made out of money.
I can, however, make you a mean stack of pancakes and an ace quick bread — and write you an A+ letter. (I’m not calling it a love letter because really, no one can compete with Shakespeare’s sonnets. The English major is not about to try.)
Perhaps one woman’s words aren’t worth nearly as much as another man’s flowers, but in my world, the best gifts aren’t the flashiest ones. The best gifts are those small things that you can use every day or see often, each time being reminded of the person who gifted it to you.
Since I won’t be seeing all of you on Valentine’s Day, here’s what I hope can make up for my absence:
I know I greet you all like this a lot. But can you blame me? I personally like it when someone calls me by name, but it never fails to make me smile when I think about how much it actually means for me to call people by some sort of pet name. And I don’t mean like a sickeningly sweet pet name, because I’m not a fan of that. But just any other name that’s not your proper, given name: Friend. Darling. Midear. I’m a quiet person. Being comfortable enough to let it slip in our face-to-face conversation that you’re “friend” is no small feat for me.
We’ve gone through a lot in this past year together. All of us. Collectively, individually, and in our one-on-one relationships. And yet somehow you’re still here, wanting to spend time with me and ask after me.
I’ve always had a hard time keeping friends around over the years. Maybe I’m bad at it. Maybe we just weren’t meant to be friends long term. But as I get closer to graduation, I’m beginning to realize that some of you are getting to be my longest-kept friends. And that scares me. Because I want you to stay there. All of you.
This year, I’ve thought a lot about T. Swift and her #squadgoals, and even though I think she’s being a bit exclusive and maybe she could set a #goal for her #squad, deep down, I actually kind of like the term. I like how she has a group of women who support each other. I like how much they show their love for each other. It’s so nice to see that friendship sort of love being expressed so openly.
Maybe I won’t be able to have that #squadgoals red carpet moment because all of you hail from such varying friend groups and paths and lives, but I’m slowly coming to terms with that. Because when you’re starting to have a problem finishing the groceries you buy each week due to the number of times you’re making plans with different friends wanting to catch up with you…
It’s impossible to not feel loved.
So, my friends. My darlings, midears — Thank you for everything. I wouldn’t have made it this far without you.