This Valentine’s Day, as you’re bombarded with all things pink, pre fixe dinners, and expectations about what you should or shouldn’t do, I’d like to divert your attention to something else: your friends. If Valentine’s Day is truly about recognizing love, then we can’t neglect this aspect of our lives.
While the idea that friendships are important may seem obvious, I’d like to challenge you to assess where this priority actually falls on your over all to do list. When setting life goals, we resolve to work hard, “get ahead,” stay in shape, find that special someone, keep that special someone, or start a family.
Having more or better friendships probably gets knocked off by things that seem “more important” because we tend not to look at friendships as “responsible,” “adult” priorities. As long as we can check off the “have friends” box to prove we’re not losers, that can feel good enough. It may not hit us as a pressing matter if our friends aren’t actually that supportive, interesting, or fun, or if we’ve neglected to spend quality time with them, genuinely be there for them, or stay up to speed on their lives.
But checking off the box isn’t enough. More than simply “having friends,” if we want to be truly fulfilled we need to actually be in our friendships. Put simply, here is what that means: make time for the friends you adore. Stay present when you’re with them, and be willing to be vulnerable and express your true feelings. If they piss you off, don’t talk crap behind their backs; express your grievances to their faces—I know that’s a scary thought, but I promise getting through it will only make your relationships better.
We spend so much energy trying to find “the one,” buying books and reading columns about how to attract this person, hold their interest, and build a quality relationship. But this relationship isn’t the only one that matters. And over this next week, when the hearts and cupids are inescapable, I’d like to encourage you to keep that in mind.
Amber Madison, Metro New York