We need to write more love letters: The importance of investing in platonic love
The love that inspires us to be our best selves.
By Aleenah Ansari, Contributor
For most of my life, I was told that platonic relationships weren’t as valuable as romantic ones. Considering I’ve been single most of my life, it was safe to say that I wasn’t one to be writing love letters or picking up Valentine’s Day cards. Still, I’ve always been grateful for my friends, who have challenged me to be the best version of myself.
I used to say that I had a crush on everyone I met. To some extent, that’s true. The love I have for my friends is incredibly deep and personal.
Amid relationships and questions about my Queerness, my friends were the ones who talked me through it all.
They always gave me the space to celebrate my wins when I got a new role or project, or comfort me when I felt especially confused about where I wanted to go next. These are the relationships that made me feel supported and emotionally connected even as romantic relationships shifted.
Turns out, there’s a term for all of this: Platonic love, which is defined as the love that inspires us to be the best version of ourselves. It’s defined by honesty and healthy boundaries that are respected by both sides.
Nothing puts it better than this quote from Sasha of Flaws of Couture:
“De-centering romantic relationships literally changed my life, changed my career, and elevated my self esteem.”
I couldn’t agree more. When I haven’t felt chosen by people that I was interested in, it’s easy to feel rejected. De-centering romantic relationships has enabled me to remember my self-worth, and they push me to pursue the opportunities that are best for me: moving to New York, moving on from jobs that no longer serve me, and prioritizing what I need out of my relationships.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve invested in expressing gratitude for my friends, even without an occasion. This is why I always send cards to my friends around the world, all to tell them that I care about them. This involves a meticulous process of picking out cards from local businesses that matched the personality of the friend I was sending it to, and I often choose a sticker from my collection that they’d love.
We need to write love letters to tell people that they matter to us.
If you’re sending a card to a friend or loved one, here are some of my favorite small businesses to support:
- Occasionalish: If you’re looking for happy mail and greeting cards (or even pins and keychains), this is the place for you.
- Forage Paper Co: This hand-painted stationery and cards are sure to make people smile, and I love the attention to detail in every design. My favorite designs are the shelf-themed cards featuring candy, flowers for Mother’s Day, and holiday plants.
- It’s Cathy Wu: I love a Seattle-based, WOC-owned brand, and this fits the bill. Expect punny cards with appearances from illustrated animals and food.
- Honey Berry Studios: Another Seattle favorite, Yuko Miki makes uplifting greeting cards and postcards that bring light to your world.
I encourage you to text, call, or send a card to someone you love, and don’t be afraid to open up about what they mean to you. Chances are, it’ll make their day.
About — Aleenah Ansari (she/her) is a writer at Microsoft, aspiring creative director, and journalist at heart. These days, she interviews engineers and designers behind the internal tools and resources at Microsoft and shares their stories in Microsoft IT Showcase blogs and videos. She’s also passionate about helping early-in-career professionals feel more confident in telling stories about their identity and work. To follow along with her journey as a writer, check out her Instagram and website, or book a 1:1 session here.