Lauren is the author of 10 books, including the popular "Amplified" series, as well as numerous musicals.
Valentine’s Day is a celebration honoring Saint Valentine of Rome and Saint Valentine of Terni, who were both martyred in the 3rd century. Over the years, this celebration has morphed into a gooey, lovey-dovey, over-commercialized holiday. While the overarching purpose of the holiday is to spread love and goodwill, it can be a bit annoying for those who find themselves single on February 14th.
Full disclosure: I’m not single, I’ve been happily married for almost five years, but prior to meeting my husband, I was always single on Valentine’s Day. Somehow I never had a relationship last long enough to swap chocolates and stare longingly into the eyes of my significant other on the day of love. Needless to say, I’ve had a fair amount of experience feeling like a romantic failure on February 14. So here are some ideas (some more constructive than others) for how to survive Valentine’s Day when you’re single.
Show Love to Friends, Family, and Others
Even though the bulk of Valentine’s Day advertisements are geared towards romantic sentiments, there’s definitely a place to share love with friends and family, or even yourself. In high school, I made sure to give cards and treats to all of my friends to make sure none of them felt left out. Just because you’re not dating somebody doesn’t mean you can’t give and receive love.
- Write a note to a friend or family member and express your appreciation for them.
- Go out on a friend date. You can go out with just one friend or gather a group of all your single friends.
- Treat yourself. Go to a spa or get a foot massage.
- Relax. Take a nap. Take a walk. Enjoy being able to do whatever you want, whenever you want.
- Throw yourself a dance party. I spent one Valentine’s evening dancing in my room, and it felt great.
- Do some service. Volunteer. Give blood. Visit a nursing home. Perform small acts of kindness throughout your day. These types of things will lift your spirits and help you stay optimistic.
- Babysit for someone. Kids are some of the easiest people to love. Or the hardest. It’s a gamble. Some of my greatest reminders of pure love are the times I’ve spent taking care of my niece and nephew.
- Adopt a pet or do something special for your current pet.
Feed Your Single Soul With Food
It’s probably not a great idea to drown yourself in sugars and fats every time you bemoan not having a significant other, but on special occasions, it’s fun and rewarding to satiate your palate.
- Eat a lot of ice cream. Yes, it’s cliche, but sometimes that frozen goodness provides the momentary contentment you can’t find anywhere else. My favorite is cookies 'n cream with peanut butter and cereal mixed in.
- Try cooking something new. When I was in college, I invited a bunch of people over to sample some mango curry. There were taste buds falling in love that night.
- Order takeout from a restaurant you haven’t tried before.
Take a Chance
(If you change your mind... take a chance, take a chick-a chance chance...)
Don’t be desperate about it, but since tons of other single people are looking for love on Valentine's Day, it might be an ideal time to connect with someone new.
- Go on a blind date. If it goes horribly, at least it’ll make a good story later.
- Try speed dating. Again, it could end well or just end as a great story.
- Write a personal ad. I wrote one on Craigslist for kicks, and while nothing came of it, it was fun to see the responses I got.
- Try online dating or dating apps. These resources don’t carry as much stigma as they used to since so many are turning to online sites or apps to meet new people and find meaningful relationships.
Embrace Your Bitterness
In small doses, dwelling on your bitterness can be entertaining, insightful, and a little bit cathartic.
- Watch really cheesy romantic movies with a friend and make fun of them.
- Throw a pity party. Invite other people to come share in your pity. I did this in high school. We ate frozen foods and complained about our lack of romance. Oddly, it’s one of my favorite memories.
- Throw darts at pictures of people in love, heart-shaped balloons, or chocolate-covered strawberries.
- Get creative. Use your bitterness to craft stories, poems, music, or art. Channeling your romantic frustrations into creative projects helps to make your feelings more tangible, and consequentially, it’s easier to let go of them. I’ve written many songs about unrequited love, and the process has always been very therapeutic for me.
Make yourself forget that it’s Valentines Day. Once, I spent the whole day filming and editing a movie about waffles. Cupid never even crossed my mind.
- Watch horror or action movies. Nothing says, ‘I don’t care about Valentine’s Day’ more than watching people get punched in the face or run away from hungry zombies.
- Learn a new skill. Rock climbing, knitting, welding, emu farming... anything to keep your mind off romance.
- Participate in distinctly non-romantic activities like boxing, bull riding, hot dog eating contests, or working on your taxes.
Go a Bit Crazy
A little off-your-rocker fun will make this Valentines Day memorable.
- Make a bunch of cookies and deliver them to yourself.
- Go out on a date with an imaginary person.
- Book a couple's massage with a mannequin.
- Perform the "Single Ladies" dance at a crowded intersection.
What are some of your ideas for getting through Valentine’s Day when you’re single? Share in the comments.
© 2018 Lauren Flauding
Alexisboyce on March 17, 2020:
Lauren Flauding (author) from Sahuarita, AZ on March 17, 2020:
Alexisboyce, I'm so sorry. Yes, I think you're alright to spend the day crying. I hope this next Valentine's Day there will be more healing.
Alexisboyce on March 15, 2020:
Is it okay if I spend valentine’s day crying? I lost my boyfriend to a seizure last year.