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Being Single on Valentine's Day

Ten Tips to Manage the Day (Hint: There's more to love than romantic love. You can choose to be loving and spread joy)


Singles outnumber married people today, making up 50.2 percent of Americans over age 16, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s the highest it has ever been.

Still, many singles dread the onslaught of Cupids and red hearts which appear every time they walk into a store during February.

National Louis University’s Claudia Pitts, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology, says singles don’t have to feel down about Valentine’s Day, or hold the misconception that “everyone else” enjoys adoring, problem-free relationships.

“A lot of adults’ feelings about Valentine’s Day trace back to when they were in elementary school and they didn’t receive a valentine,” Pitts said. “Know that it’s your expectations about Valentine’s Day that get you, and you can change your expectations.”

She offered the following tips singles can use for changing their expectations about the day.

  1. Singles can celebrate Singles Awareness Day, which some observe on Feb. 14, but others observe on Feb. 15 in order to differentiate it, and also take advantage of 50 percent discounts on Valentine’s candy. It’s meant to be a humorous, light-hearted holiday in which singles brush off pressure to get married. Many attend singles’ events in order to affirm their singleness, and/or meet other singles. Type "singles" into to find local events.
  2. Cultivate an attitude of gratitude. Focus on all the good things you do have in your life, such as good friends, family members, the pursuit of interests you enjoy, pets, your home, travel, etc. Gratitude relieves depression, Pitts says.
  3. Love doesn’t have to be limited to romantic love. Singles can focus instead on reaching out in a loving fashion to volunteer, donate or help the less fortunate. Volunteering to walk dogs at a rescue shelter, staffing a hotline or donating to a cause you believe in can be ways of spreading love on Feb. 14 or any day.
  4. People who anticipate Feb. 14 might be a tough day can gather a group of single friends for an anti-Valentine’s Day party. Participants can orchestrate a gift swap, similar to a Secret Santa, in which everyone draws names and gets their recipient some chocolates, flowers or wine.
  5. Feeling a little mischievous? Send yourself flowers at work, with a blank card, leaving everyone to speculate about who sent them. Or, send anonymous flowers to a single friend.
  6. Those who have recently been through a breakup, or are constantly fielding questions as to why they are not married, will need to do some solid planning to make it through to Feb. 15. They can gather supportive people and do something completely un-romantic, like go to a comedy or horror film, help at a homeless shelter or work out at a health club. Typing “anti-Valentine’s” into Pinterest will also provide ideas.
  7. It’s important for singles to practice self-care, Pitts says. It could come in the form of going to a spa, splurging on a nice meal or box of chocolates or going to a show. Remember that many people in relationships do not get these little niceties from their partners, but singles can provide them for themselves or their friends.
  8. Volunteer to babysit your little cousins or friends' kids. You can even get out the construction paper and doilies and do valentine crafts, followed by cupcakes. Not only will your friends or family appreciate it, time with kids is great. They might even give you a valentine card or some candy hearts.
  9. Many people get a little bit lonely on Valentine’s Day. However, it’s never a good idea to “drunk-dial” exes. If you feel the urge to call, email, instant message, or text on Valentine’s, maybe it’s best to focus it on your mom or grandmother or someone else who might be feeling isolated.
  10. Remember that Feb. 14 is just one random day out of many. It’s just another day on the calendar, like tomorrow and yesterday, and will soon be gone for another year.





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