Valentine’s Day is a pretty divisive holiday; few people feel neutral toward it.
There are those who love it, who practically demand candlelit dinners, bouquets of roses, and giant teddy bears. And there are those who, for whatever reason, boycott the day.
On a day centered on love, some people feel extra unloved. Extra lonely. Extra disappointed.
- The hopeful spouse who received nothing but an “Oh yeah, happy Valentine’s Day.”
- The single someone who watches all of his or her friends celebrate from a silent, empty apartment.
- The widow who reminisces on a Valentine’s Day fifty years ago, no longer able to celebrate with her husband.
- The shy grade-schooler who didn’t receive any Valentines in his mailbox.
To some, it might seem silly for people to be sad they’re not celebrating a holiday that’s mostly a marketing scheme, but this day is usually just a reminder of a larger insecurity—a constant feeling of loneliness or sadness that manifests on February 14.
People offer all sorts of advice or “solutions” to their loved ones who are a little lonely or disappointed on Valentine’s Day:
- Hang out with your friends! (They probably already have plans with their SOs.)
- Do something fun by yourself! (Like what, order pad Thai and watch Netflix alone?)
- Plan a date night with your disengaged spouse! (With what disposable income?)
If you’re someone who has offered a solution like this to a friend, co-worker, or family member, you don’t have to feel bad—it’s human nature to want to help our loved ones solve their problems with a can-do attitude.
This year, do something different. Go on a different kind of Valentine’s date—one that serves your neighbor rather than yourself (or even your significant other). Whether you’re single, married, or somewhere in between, use this day as an opportunity to give someone else a special day instead.
Offer to Babysit for a Couple
We all know at least one couple who could use a romantic date night out of the house. Between paying for dinner and a babysitter, many couples find it difficult to find the spare time and finances to regularly go on dates.
Reach out to a couple—whether they’re your close friends or just acquaintances—and offer to babysit their children for free while they go on a special Valentine’s date.
Host a Party
One of the hardest things about Valentine’s Day weekend is that all your taken friends automatically have plans. So unless all your friends are in the same boat as you, you feel resigned to order takeout and watch some sad rom-com.
Don’t make it Galentine’s or Valentine’s or (even worse) Forever Alone themed. Just host a party the weekend around February 14 so you and your friends can have plans that don’t involve binge-eating or binge-watching. Or you can do that together. Whatever floats your boat.
Make It a Double Date
I find myself casually asking married people at work, “So, what are you and your husband/wife doing for Valentine’s Day?” A lot of empty nesters will look at me with a confused look that says, “We’ve been married thirty years, we’re way past Valentine’s Day cheesiness.”
Whether you’ve been married for five years or fifty, go out to dinner with another couple, even if they’re a lot younger or older than you. You’ll all get out of the house and get to know a new couple! And who knows—maybe this is an opportunity to start a mentoring relationship.
After you’ve done your super fun awesome Valentine’s Day thing, spend some time in the Word with these colorable bookmarks.