Going solo can be tough in February. Whether you are single by chance or by choice, when Valentine’s Day rolls around even the most self-confident person can end up feeling like a third wheel. Take heart; the focus on February 14th hasn’t always been on romance. According to NPR.org, the uncertain origins of the holiday go back before 3rd century A.D. and include pagan rituals and martyrdom. It wasn’t until the early 1900s when the Missouri-based Hallmark company expanded on the European tradition of exchanging cards, that the holiday began to morph into a couple’s celebration.
In this day and age there’s no reason singles can’t reject antiquated rituals and cultural expectations to reinvent the holiday. And if you’re a traditionalist, Valentine’s Day can also serve as a good time to meet other singles who are looking for love. However you choose to celebrate the holiday, the best way to reinvent Valentine’s Day as a single is to start with a personalized plan. Here are 10 ideas to get you started:
Love comes in many flavors. Make the holiday more inclusive by celebrating all the different kinds of love. Spend time with your family. Let your friends know how much they mean to you. Volunteer at a local food pantry or soup kitchen. Adopt a pet from a shelter—with the added benefit of receiving some unconditional love and constant companionship that lasts long after the Valentine roses have withered.
Show Some Solidarity
Gather all your single friends together and host a dinner party or pot luck. Go out as a group to your favorite restaurant or club. Include a gift exchange so everyone goes home with a reminder that they are loved and not alone.
Food is Love
Plan to cook your favorite meal with the freedom to add as much garlic as you want! Whip up your favorite dessert and celebrate you. Better yet, order out and indulge yourself without having to deal with the clean up!
Focus on Self-Care
Schedule a massage, makeover, or manscape. Get a mani-pedi. Take a yoga or spinning class. If your budget won’t allow, you can draw a bath, light a few candles, put on your favorite tunes and pamper yourself at home.
Avoid the outside world altogether and catch up on your favorite series on Netflix or Hulu with a Valentine’s Day marathon. Watch a classic movie romance, or rail against convention by exploring other film genres.
Get Out of Town
Plan a trip. Go someplace you’ve always wanted to go. See the things you want to see. Book a room in a nice hotel in a nearby city and explore, like the Washington Square Hotel in the heart of Greenwich Village, Manhattan (check out the V-Day specials). The freedom to do what you want when you want, and to come and go as you please is one of the perks of being single. Enjoy your freedom while it lasts!
Spend the money you would have spent on a partner on yourself. Buy that expensive bottle of wine, new pair of shoes, trendy sofa or barbecue grill. Enroll in that adult education class you’ve been wanting to take. Forget the guilt and show yourself some love.
Grab that copy of the latest best seller you’ve been meaning to read and lose yourself between the pages. If it’s a real page-turner and you’re up half the night finishing it, you don’t have to worry about anyone yelling at you to turn off the light!
Be proactive. Check out events within your community aimed at singles and attend, alone or with single friends. Go to a bar or a club with your buddies. Go to a concert or sporting event. Even if you go alone, you’ll be surrounded by thousands of other fans.
Connect on Line (or in line)
Explore your options. Join an on-line dating site. Statistics show that the activity on these sites is highest around Valentine’s Day. Or heck, ask that cute guy or gal from the gym on a date. What do you have to lose? This could be the last Valentine’s Day you spend alone. And if it’s not, you’ve got a whole repertoire of things to do to get you through Valentine’s Day next year!
Sure, flying solo on Valentine’s Day can serve as a big, fat reminder about your relationship status. But forget what Hallmark has to say about this “romantic” day. One study presented in a TEDx Talk found that breakups drastically increase right before V-Day. (Probably because of all the unrealistic expectations and pressure people put on their mates.) Well, whatever the reason, you can just let that $#*! go—being single is awesome. Take one of our 10 tips from above and show yourself the LOVE!