Here’s How to Be Happy on Valentine’s Day, Even If You’re Not in a Relationship

Maybe you just got out of a relationship. Maybe you’re single because that’s how you prefer to be. Or maybe you’re lonely and wishing you could find your soul mate. Whatever the reason, February 14 can be one of the hardest days of the year. Red and pink hearts appear everywhere. Your couple friends are headed off on special outings, or else they’ve planned romantic evenings at home. Of course you feel a little bit left out, if you didn’t, you wouldn’t be human.

But there’s no need to let the holiday get you down, or to go home to a lonely evening of Netflix. You may not have a romantic partner by your side, but you can still have an utterly fabulous Valentine’s Day.

1. Celebrate “Galentine’s” or “Palentine’s” Day.

Some people celebrate a special friendship day on February 13, which allows friends who are in couples to honor each other on the day before Valentine’s Day, and then spend the holiday with their partner or spouse. That’s fine, but you need a celebration of your own on February 14, so grab a single friend and make a plan to go out to dinner, or a sporting event, or a movie. Your friend will probably be just as glad as you are to have something fun to do on Valentine’s Day.

2. Treat yourself to that movie you’ve been wanting to see.

Even if you’ve been happily married for decades, it can be surprisingly difficult to get out to the movies that appeal to you most. Going to the movies with someone else is a complex negotiation of preferences and schedules that usually ends with the least objectionable compromise.

I realize not everyone loves the idea of going to the movies alone, but if you’ve ever been tempted to try it, I highly recommend it. You can see exactly what you want at the time you want from the seat you want, and there’s no one to ask you to pass the popcorn.

3. Do something nice for the community. 

Hospitals and nursing homes are full of people who are unhappily alone on Valentine’s Day and can’t do anything about it. So volunteer to spread some cheer around whatever way you can. It’s hard to feel lonely when you’re helping someone who really needs it.

4. Give yourself the perfect Valentine’s present.

Imagine for a moment that you have found the perfect person to be with on Valentine’s Day. This person appears at your door, bearing a present that was carefully selected to be exactly what you want and appreciate most.

What’s inside that present? Whatever it is, why not go out and get it for yourself? After all, the best qualified person in the universe to pick out a present for you is you. 

5. Have a singles gathering.

If you have a few friends who are single, Valentine’s Day is a great day to get together for a streaming movie marathon or an evening out at your favorite bar. You can toast each other and your unattached lives, no matter how they came about or whether you’re looking for someone or not. Do it right, and your friends in relationships just might wind up envying you.

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