Have you ever sat down to a brunch with your friends and verbally rewarded your new flame or long-time lover a medal for doing something relatively simple, in concept; making a plan, remembering a small detail of a story you told weeks ago, gifting you a tiny item just ‘cause?
And your friends obligingly sit across from you and Full House-audience “Awww” upon hearing this apparent romantic achievement? Well, two things about those friends of yours. They’re such good friends that it probably never dawned on them that, realistically, it shouldn’t be impressive that said boyfriend pulled off something minorly nice; they’re just happy you’re happy. Secondly, take a minute to reflect and you’ll notice that those same friends do nice little things like that for you all the time – without ever consciously realizing they’re even doing it. Yet somehow, we’re all guilty of forgetting to dish out nearly enough of that deliberate recognition to our dear friends who daily or weekly at minimum (as opposed to once in a blue moon and still worthy of raising as “news” at the ever-important brunch breakdown) bend over backwards to make us feel better about this funny world and our little place in it. It’s rarely newsworthy when a friend consistently adores you – because with a great friend, it’s a wonderful kind of ordinary to feel selflessly loved.
Maybe that’s the essence of true friendship, though; great friends are so commonly generous, that it would be impossible to always acknowledge their tiny, thoughtful acts of compassion. But, shouldn’t that be the essence of true love, too? A mate who consistently takes care of the minute things? Many people have that in their romantic relationships, no doubt about it. But, for those people who aren’t the cameo characters in your life – the ones who insisted on buying you eight drinks and a fuchsia boa when you turned 19 (steep bounty on a student budget) as well as a posh dinner when you got promoted at 25 – they deserve a whole lotta, if not more, love on a day like today. Because, the medals should go to anyone who, over the years, has never needed a reminder to appreciate every bit of who you are.
Men or women, real friends and great love don’t require acknowledgment and boasting – and the motive for what they do is never meant to be acknowledged or boasted about. In small ways and countless times over, real friends and true love just want to help you realize that you’re exquisite.
Recently, I notified some of my closest friends of something in my life – a new path, a potential big step – that could be momentous for me; something that took up gigantic space in my head and heart. Without fail and to the absolute minute, my best friends remembered to remember me, checked in on me – one by one – to learn more, gather updates, and to tell me in so many different ways that I was loved. My heart turned to mush, as it has many times before. Without my asking and without agenda, they were the consistent, effortless chivalry that sometimes seems mythical and too decadent to expect in certain relationships. These good friends’ steadfast, instinctive deeds make me question if I’ve ever been half as good to them.
So, on a day like Valentine’s – just love the ones you’re with. Love anyone who makes you smile more often than not, that’s for certain.
And this isn’t even close to a single person’s bitter retaliation against a day centered around relationships and romance – so drop that smirk. My romance is a plenty. In fact, it’s so plenty that I write this today – as much as I could any other day of the year – because this happens to be a Valentine’s in which I’ve never been more aware of just how blissfully in love I am with all the right people.