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Opinion: Amid Valentine’s Day festivities, platonic love should be equally celebrated

(Hao Tam Tran/Daily Bruin)

By Alexandra Yakimova

Feb. 13, 2024 6:51 p.m.

Los Angeles isn’t exactly known for having seasons.

Besides the rainstorms of early February, I can’t say I’ve had to reach for anything more than a sweater, even in the midst of winter. But there is one season that has been rapidly approaching for the past month and a half to the dismay of many.

As Feb. 14 creeps up once again, love is in the air – though not for everyone.

Despite Valentine’s Day being a historic celebration with beginnings that academics still argue about to this day, the intentions that come with modern interpretations of the holiday could not be clearer

Every year, I watch in awe – and slight fear – as store shelves practically change overnight from bright red ornaments and green trees commemorating Christmastime to vibrant pink hearts, frills and teddy bears.

It’s nearly impossible to set foot in any retail establishment from Dec. 26 to Feb. 14 and not be bombarded with reminders of the upcoming declarations of love that over 50% of Americans will partake in.

According to a 2023 study, at least 30% of college students are in some form of a committed relationship. Therefore, mid-February is the perfect season for spotting incessant hand-holding or another romantic electric scooter ride on campus.

It’s hard to overlook the obvious. Valentine’s Day is a holiday geared towards those in relationships. While celebrations of romantic love are important, Valentine’s Day can be a sore subject for many individuals who are not involved in a romantic partnership.

On top of that, attempts to change anything about the holiday are, in my experience, met with snide remarks and side-eyes. Even the alternative Galentine’s Day celebration designed to uplift female friendships has been twisted into a “sad singles” night by our modern perspectives.

Whether it is due to a recent breakup, a relationship cleanse or simply a genuine lack of romantic interest in people surrounding you, being single on a day designed to celebrate romantic love and relationships is far from ideal. In a college setting, the constant reminders of what others have found for themselves makes the experience even worse.

College is often portrayed as a utopia of meeting new people, falling in and out of love and enjoying the wild ride of young adulthood. But it is also important to remember that love is not all about romantic connection. Platonic relationships are just as valuable to have and potentially even more important to celebrate.

Oftentimes, romantic partners are praised for their constant supply of love, support and understanding – all characteristics that a true friend provides without the added benefits of romance.

Chances are, long before anyone entered a romantic relationship, they had a multitude of platonic ones. In fact, those platonic relationships may have been involved in the development of a romantic partnership, whether through group chat analyses of risky texts or a perfectly-timed wingman at a social gathering.

Despite the prevalence of platonic relationships, there is no holiday the size of Valentine’s Day dedicated to celebrating your friends. Valentine’s Day exemplifies a collective, and perhaps unjust, decision that the only love worth celebrating is romantic.

It’s about time we start to rewrite that narrative.

Romantic partners should undoubtedly have the opportunity to celebrate each other and the relationship they have built over the course of their time together. But a romantic relationship is certainly not the only type of relationship that requires constant dedication and upkeep.

The connections we build for ourselves are all part of the same network that acts as our support system every waking moment of our lives. There is no reason to place a higher value on one link in the chain when an equal distribution can handle the weight better anyway.

So this Valentine’s Day, whether you are in a romantic relationship or not, take the time to appreciate everyone who makes your life special.

You do not have to date someone to truly care about them. On a day meant to celebrate love, let’s celebrate the multitude of love that can and do exist in our community.

Besides, running people over on an electric scooter date is hardly the pinnacle of romance.

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Alexandra Yakimova
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