Riya Patel

coffee date #16 with riya patel

MOMager, shortie, tik tok star, pro dancer, NYU bound!, once-upon-a-time gymnast, that-person-who-does-everything-in-school-and-is-the-president-of-every-club

me: lavender iced latte | riya: nola (w/ chicory milk)
location: small world coffee, new jersey

Riya has been one of my longest friends – 8 years to be precise. I met her when she used to only reach my knees and yet, she still had the same amount of sass, attitude, and boldness that she has now.

We met through Arya Dance Academy and she’s been my life companion since. Riya was the girl in Arya who everyone would lift in the air and proceed to throw across the stage because 1. she was so tiny, 2. she was a gymnast, 3. she was an impeccable dancer.

She’s a year younger than me, but holy shit she is such a Mom (her contact name on my phone is ‘MOMager’ LOL). She was always that person at dance who would plan ahead. She’d bring extra snacks or drinks because she knew that people like me would forget. I’m pretty sure she even brought an extra pack of makeup wipes to one competition solely because she anticipated that I wouldn’t have any. Most of all, she was and still is one of the most loyal, honest, and “no-BS” people I know. I love this human to pieces ❤️

I realized that one of the biggest things I admire about Riya Patel is her ability to confront absolutely anyone. I have talked about confrontation during some of my other coffee dates, so I realized that Riya is that one person who actually knows and masters the art of confrontation. She is an owner of an RBF and can also appear to be brutally mean, but it’s actually her confronting the other person. She could possibly use the little template that coffee date #2 recommended, but hey, at least she’s still confronting unlike the rest of the world who continue to hide in their relationships.


  • Happiness.

Happiness is actually so complex and abstract. We unpacked this emotion a tiny bit during the date.

Here’s a wholesome video by Nathaniel Drew talking about happiness 🙂

It’s definitely going to sound weird, but Riya and I are kinda afraid of never being thoroughly happy.

When we are in situations that make us glow, laugh, smile, dance, etc. we are happy. But are we thoroughly happy? Is our baseline, happiness? Can our baseline be happiness?

“Consecutive moments of temporary happiness must lead us to long-term happiness.” – Riya Patel, 2021

But how do we find those “temporary consecutive moments”?

When I’m working out, meditating, or with people I love, I’m happy. But then I return to my baseline emotion, which, similar to many others, is anxiety and fatigue.

This is where vacation kicks in. We go on vacations to take a mental break and escape our baseline feelings to give ourselves that temporary moment of happiness. However, when we return to our regular lifestyles, don’t we just plummet back into the phase we were in before the vacation?

How do we make happiness our baseline emotion? (to be continued….)

  • Finding love is finding someone you 100% trust.

According to Riya, there can be no love where there is no trust. 100%.

“Love is progressively increasing in any relationship.” – Riya Patel, 2021

Trust does not only come with secrets, but it also comes from finding emotional stability with the other person.

“You have to trust them about your emotions too.” – Riya Patel, 2021

It’s normal to tell people who you love about a deep, dark secret that has been holding you back. But it should also be normal for you to tell those same people that you’re sad, anxious, unhappy, etc, on any given day. Emotional intelligence can only be achieved if we allow ourselves to trust others with our emotions.

  • Getting medicated for our mental health.

I’ve talked about therapy with many other coffee dates, but I haven’t really talked about getting medicated for mental illnesses with them.

Riya and I talked about what we thought the pros and cons of getting medicated for mental illnesses are.

Glennon Doyle explained this beautifully: a HUGE pro for those who get medicated for their mental illness is that it allows them to finally reach the same level as those who do not suffer from a mental illness.

On the other hand, one of the cons is the fact that once we start taking these medications, we shouldn’t stop taking them. Or else, whatever condition we’re suffering from will worsen. This is the con with any medication that one takes for somatic problems as well.

This is definitely a topic that needs to be unpacked further in future coffee dates.

  • There’s no such thing as falling behind in life.

I shared one of my biggest fears with Riya today – the fear of falling behind in life (thank you capitalism and hustle culture for embedding this fear in me. Appreciate it).

Riya said that it’s actually impossible to “fall behind” because:

“There’s always a force that is pushing you forward.” – Riya Patel, 2021

Even during our darkest times, the force is still there and still pushing us forward. We just don’t realize when we’re in those moments.

This fear of falling behind also stems from comparison. By what standards can one deem that they are “falling behind in life”? We’re obviously comparing ourselves to someone else or some larger societal structure in order to believe that we are going too slow.

“If nothing goes wrong in life, then you’re living a lie.” – Riya Patel, 2021

  • You are not a BURDEN!

Riya Patel and I used to be the SAME when it came to being vulnerable and sharing our feelings with others. We always assumed that no one would be willing to listen to our lives because that would be such an emotional burden.

However, Riya soon realized (with the help of some exceptional people) that releasing your mental load is often not a burden for the people you love. In fact, it’ll strengthen that relationship that much more.

“If you think you’re better off alone, then you haven’t found the right people yet.” – Riya Patel, 2021

I’m just going to take a moment to say: I AM SO FREAKING PROUD OF THIS WOMAN! Riya used to be one of the most reserved people, not because she never wanted to share, but because she didn’t think people would be emotionally available to listen to her feelings.

We all got feelings. And we all need them to be listened to.

One thought on “Riya Patel

  1. This coffee date touched me very much. It had the core ingredient of life that is happiness. The two of you are so matured and thoughtful talking about this subject so eloquently. It is so simplified in the saying loving alone is not enough in a relationship but trusting to share down feelings with the loved one is truly a happy relationship.

    I am proud to say that reading this blog made me think if I am able to have such trusted and loved relationships… am I able to share my down feelings or have someone share theirs… need to retrospect myself deeper…thanks for such a great lesson you two!!!!


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