You don’t have to be in a romantic relationship to feel the love this week. Wednesday 13 February is Galentine’s Day, providing women around the world with a chance to celebrate female friendship.
We spoke to five women to find out about the unique bonds they have with their gal pals. One thing’s for sure, the Spice Girls were on to something when they said ‘friendship never ends’. Prepare for a healthy dose of girl power...
[Read More: Why long-distance friendships are worth fighting for]
‘We’ve grown up together.’
Katherine Giddins is originally from Northern Ireland but now lives in London. Wherever she’s based, she knows she can always rely on her BFF Izzy.
“Izzy is my best friend and cat sis. We share a mutual love of felines, languages, travel, pizza and weird youtube videos,” the 25-year-old tells HuffPost UK.
“Ever since we met in halls at university we have been there for each other through break ups and break downs and everything in between. We’ve grown up together and are always only a Skype chat away from a heart-to-heart, rant or silly session.
“I’ll be celebrating Galentine’s day by sending Izzy a text and focusing on the friends I have, rather than the love life I don’t.”
‘Friendship makes us who we are.’
Karen Walker, 51, from Greater Manchester, says her “crazy and diverse friends” are there for her through thick and thin. “They are brutally honest when it’s needed and kind and supportive when that’s what’s required. They raise my spirits with hilarity, make me cry tears of laughter and have mopped up the tears of sadness. They have shown their truest colours in my darkest moments,” she says.
“Despite knowing all of my flaws (and there are many) they still choose to hang out with me and more importantly to share their time and invest their emotion. I am eternally grateful and would not be who or where I am in life without them.
“For Galentine’s Day this year I will be raising a glass to just how amazing friendship can be and to just how fabulous and strong women all over the world are, we should all celebrate our friendship and each others’ happiness and know that no matter what, we have got each others’ back. Friendship makes us who we are, where would we be without each other?”
‘I relied on them for everything.’
Amy Packham, 28, always had female friends in her life, but it wasn’t until a few years ago when she went through a breakup that she realised how important they were. “I relied on them for everything: constant chats, a listening ear, company when I didn’t want to talk and the reassurance that they were there for me whenever, whatever time,” she says.
“I couch-surfed their beds for a few weeks after the breakup because I didn’t want to sleep alone and even when they were busy (I remember watching Netflix in my friend’s bed while she went to get a bikini wax), they never made me feel like a burden. I thanked them profusely for being there for me, but they all had the same response: ‘You don’t need to thank me, that’s what friends are for’.
“My gal pal friendships have only gotten stronger since then. When you can honestly, truly, open up and 100% be yourself with girls in your life, share all your doubts and fears and know that you will never be judged, it feels so liberating. This Galentine’s, I’m spending it with three of my gal pals making as many pancakes as possible.”
‘These ladies are my tribe.’
Mary Baird-Wilcock describes her female friends as being like “the Irish Cream to [her] coffee”. The 41-year-old, who lives in Nottingham but is originally from Texas, says when she and her friends can’t see each other physically, they stay connected online.
“No matter the time of day, one of us is awake and can lift the other one up if we are in a funk. We are connected in a private Facebook group, passing videos and messages back and forth daily. Some days, I talk more with them than I do my own husband,” she says. “These ladies are my tribe. My rocket boosters. My cheer squad. I love them so much and can’t imagine life without them.
“This Galentine’s Day we will likely shoot Facebook Live videos back and forth throughout the day inside our private group, showering each other with love, a few laughs and a whole lot of encouragement. Lord knows, this group of unbelievable women have kept each of us (still) married, inspired and rising up, through thick and thin. I couldn’t imagine doing life without them.”
‘Galentine’s is a way of showing appreciation to amazing women.’
Jen Harding, 29, has celebrated Galentine’s day for the past few years and this year is no exception. She’ll be marking the day with “food and fun”.
“We have a night out planned next Friday and then off for Sushi on Saturday to cure our hangovers. I’m also dragging my team out for a lunch on Wednesday, so I really am spreading the Galentine’s love this year,” Jen, who lives in London but is originally from Manchester, says. “The tradition of celebrating Galentine’s came about in the last couple of years because myself and my close friend got sick of the connotations of having to have a boyfriend to enjoy the occasion, so we made it fun for ourselves. We threw a massive flat party last year and went all out. It went a bit love heart crazy and I was still finding sequin love hearts down the side of the sofa in July.
“I have a really large female friendship group and we are so supportive and respectful of each other. I think Galentine’s is a great way of showing your appreciation to the amazing women that we all have in our lives.”