If I have learned anything in life, it is that people do not need to be alone to be lonely. I know many people who have been far lonelier in a relationship than they have ever been by themselves. So why does our society function on the premise that to be single is to be lonely, and to be alone on Valentine’s Day is to be rejected or unloved in some intrinsic way? As someone who has been alone on every Valentine’s Day since eighth grade, I can say with certainty that I have never felt that my value as a person is somehow diminished because I am not receiving a heart-shaped box of chocolates and red roses from someone I may or may not actually care about. Your worth is not determined by a commercial holiday bursting with illusion, false companionship, and fleeting notions of love.
I have heard so many people scold themselves for being single on yet another Valentine’s Day. You should never apologize for being alone, or assign blame to yourself, because there is nothing wrong with choosing to remain alone until you find someone you truly care about. There is a certain wonder and exquisiteness to having a positive, loving relationship with yourself, and once you establish that kind of connection you stop defining your value by other people or relationships.
1. You don’t have to go out and be around a bunch of creepily affectionate strangers
Some people get pretty weird around Valentine’s Day. I feel like they freak out and get social anxiety about being the only person without a date or a significant other, and they cling onto anything or anyone they come across. And while this is sad for them, it is also decidedly unsettling to witness. There are also always the couples that insist on public displays of affection that soar above and beyond accepted social customs of showing desire. I do not want to see this, I should not have to see this, and I am thankful that for another year I can be spared this atrocity. (If you are someone in a relationship who is celebrating without indulging in the standard clingy dinner routine, kudos to you!)
2. You will save money
Let’s be honest, saving money is nice. Valentine’s Day is predicated on the consumption and redistribution of goods, so in a way you’re subverting the capitalist enterprise on this occasion. Or you can use the money you would have spent on someone else to go buy yourself a present, which is also rad. Win-win, single people.
3. You don’t have to endure the social pressure of a “forced, awkward, intimate situation” (courtesy of Wedding Crashers)
Valentine’s Day is for dates, or so I’ve observed. I am not a fan of forced, awkward, intimate situations. They just seem weird. The conventions of human interactions in romantic scenarios like dating are tenuous at best, and can be extremely unpredictable. You know what isn’t going to be awkward? Hanging out by yourself, or with your single friends. Take pleasure in the fact that you don’t have to navigate the awkward world of dating on a night so imbued with perceived meaning and societal implications.
4. You can do whatever the hell you want
If you were spending Valentine’s Day with your significant other or date, then you would presumably have to do something that is satisfying to both of you, which is burden that I do not have to worry about in my singledom. If I want to eat an entire container of Trader Joe’s Butter Cookies and watch the Animal Plant Cute-A-Thon (like I did last year, and it was awesome by the way) then I damn well can. I make my own rules on this day and every other, and as such I determine my fate. Do something that makes you happy, and enjoy the freedom of doing whatever you please.
5. Nobody is going to see you naked
Some people might be sad about this, and rightfully so, but embrace the fact that you don’t need to make sure you lose the Christmas weight or hit the gym in time for Valentine’s Day because you’re worried about what your date or significant other will think about your love handles. You can do those things on your own schedule. Put on your cozy pajamas and be happy that the pressure of having someone see you naked is not weighing down on you.
6. You don’t have to allot a certain amount of time for Valentine’s Day activities
I am a busy woman, and I doubt that I would even have time to celebrate Valentine’s Day if I was in a relationship or wanted to. It is comforting to know that on Valentine’s Day, I can spend the whole day reading, writing, and preparing for my graduate classes without guilt or pressure to abandon my work for a social engagement. I understand that some people want to forget their responsibilities for the night and enjoy a special day with their loved one, but I will want to get things done so that when I am really exhausted I can spend a special day with my three loves: my dog, Netflix, and beer.
7. You can show all of your friends that are complacent in miserable, unhealthy relationships that there are other ways to live: ways that are enjoyable and fulfilling in their own right
There is a widely held misconception that it is inherently preferable to be in a relationship, even if it is severely flawed, than to be single. When did being single become such an all-encompassing fear? There are far greater things to fear in life than not being in a relationship, or having a date on Valentine’s Day. I would argue that it is more pleasurable and beneficial to be in a healthy relationship with yourself than to be in an unhealthy relationship with someone else, especially one that is based on an intrinsic fear of being single and perceived as unloved. Single people, show your friends that being single can be wonderful, even on romantically-charged Valentine’s Day.