Alone on Valentine’s Day: Dealing with Holiday Stress


I get by with a little help from my friends.
– John Lennon

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“Being single used to mean that nobody wanted you. Now it means you’re pretty sexy and you’re taking your time deciding how you want your life to be and who you want to spend it with.”

– Sex and the City


The pressure

There’s a lot of hype made about Valentine’s Day. We’re inundated with advertising about love, finding the perfect gift for your date, and creating a special evening filled with romance. But what do you do if you’re not in a relationship? Hide, join an anti-Valentine’s Day Club, or worse, start thinking about how horrible it is being alone because you think no one wants you?


We can feel the cultural and familial pressures to marry and have kids. That expectation is everywhere—in our music, television, movies, books, and is often fed to us by well-intentioned family and friends. And for some, it can seem worse before and on Valentine’s Day.


Does that mean we have to buy into it?

Suppose you decided to create your own path according to your choices and interests. Suppose you chose this life rather than refusing to settle for the sake of being in a relationship.What would happen if you began think about the advantages and benefits of being single?


Single by choice

There are more and more people who are choosing to be single, to celebrate being single, and to be successfully single. Being single gives you the chance to really get to know yourself, to be comfortable with who you are, to do what you want when you want, to hone skills or hobbies, and to nurture friendships.


It’s not about selfishness or being anti-relationship. For many, it’s about being comfortable in your own skin, about choosing solitude or friendship depending on how you feel. For others it’s about independence. How about for you?


Belonging and connection

We all want to feel like we belong and that we’re special. Our lives are built on relationships with our parents, siblings, extended family, friends, co-workers, neighbours, and community.


To kids, Valentine’s Day is about belonging and connection—as friends. These days teachers often try to ensure everyone is included—boys and girls, friends, the popular and the unpopular—by asking students to give a card to every student in his or her class.


It’s a small way of creating connection, of helping someone feel special, and of potentially mending fences between estranged kids.


Thinking about the fresh innocence of a child’s Valentine’s Day got me thinking—why so we as adults put so much emphasis on having “one special friend” on Valentine’s? What if instead we made the day about creating connection—with friends, family, or people within our community? What if we used the day as an opportunity to help others feel special? What if we did some things to honor how special we are?


How about you? What will you do?


I’d love to hear your comments!