I have now been single for one year.
And, as I have written about before, I’m very content with that.
Yesterday was Valentine’s Day… potentially a day that has a greater impact on single people than those in relationships. Whilst couples may exchange cards, gifts and messages of love (I just opened an Instagram story my friend shared that showed a donut bouquet she received from her Valentine), for us un-partnered lot, the day has resonance as a reminder of something we don’t have, a reminder of the lack of romantic love in our lives.
So this year, instead of thinking negatively about Valentine’s Day, or even just letting it pass me by, I decided to embrace it with positivity… just in a slightly different way than you might expect.
I decided that I would focus on the love I share with my friends.
I am lucky enough to have a really close-knit group of girlfriends who I see really regularly, and they are all like sisters to me. We have known each other since we were teenagers and see ourselves as a family.
And so, I thought, why not embrace this love on Valentine’s Day?
And it has been fabulous.
Last weekend, one of my oldest friends and I went on a ‘romantic’ long weekend to Dublin. We walked the streets of Dublin, visited museums, ate brunch, drank cocktails, went on a Saturday evening ‘date night’ and had a terribly merry time. We toasted to eleven and a half years of friendship and returned to London brimming with love.
Then, the plan for Valentine’s Day itself was a girls’ night – happy hour, lobster and lots of laughter. A girly evening filled with true devotion!
According to the father of Positive Psychology, Martin Seligman’s ‘PERMA’ model for wellbeing, ‘relationships’ are one of the five pillars for a happy life.
So what is a positive relationship? Dr Lynn Soots, educator and writer for The Positive Psychology People, says that what makes a relationship positive is the mutual desire to contribute to and foster that relationship, resulting in benefit to both parties. Amongst my friends, there is a real desire to support one another. Help is always given when somebody is going through a tough time, and we always try to check in with each other. We don’t take one other’s support for granted and always try to return the favour.
According to an infographic from Happify, it has been found that regular contact with 10 or more friends both increases happiness and lengthens life… and another study found that having a friend by your side can actually make a hill look less steep i.e. challenges seem less daunting with a friend around for support. There are so many health benefits – both physical and mental – to having positive relationships with friends. I personally know my life would feel a lot emptier without mine.
So Hubbers, I say let’s celebrate the love we have instead of focussing on the love we may not have. The love I have for my friends is one of the most positive things in my life and I am so glad to have devoted this year’s Valentine’s Day to that! However, I also know that I am very lucky to have friends so close to me. Many people aren’t in this position. So, as a little bonus Valentine’s act of love, maybe make a phone call or even just send a text to somebody who might be feeling a little lonely… it could really brighten their day!
Happy Valentine’s Weekend Hubbers!