Single’s Survival Guide: 6 Alternatives to Valentine’s Day

When I was a freshman in college I met a friend who had never had a boyfriend, just like me. We spent the first semester getting to know each other and by second semester we were pretty much inseparable. This dear friend is the one who introduced me to my favorite term for Valentine’s Day: Single’s Awareness Day. Since we had never been fortunate enough to have an actual, romantic “Valentine” we decided to celebrate our singleness by going to dinner and having a girls night with our other single friends (movies and facials a la Rite Aid mint facial mask). That was the first year that I learned how to enjoy Valentine’s Day without the expectation of having a date. By giving it a new (sarcastic) re-branding, we took ownership of it and that made Valentine’s Day less alienating for those of us without a date for the evening.

As I got older and went off to grad school in a different state, I spent my first Valentine’s day away from all of my friends and family; completely alone. To be honest though, it wasn’t that bad. I embraced the opportunity to relive my first “Singles Awareness Day.” I made myself a “fancy” dinner (well, as fancy as someone who once burnt water can possibly make) and decided to watch one of the few romantic movies that doesn’t make me vomit in my mouth and roll my eyes into the back of my head. I spent Valentine’s day the way I would have hoped to, just without a significant other. You know, a minor, insignificant detail. I also managed to enjoy myself, despite being single on Valentine’s day.

So here are 6 alternative ways to spend Valentine’s day for singles.

  1. Get together with other single friendsWhile Valentine’s day has a monopoly on couples, the message behind the holiday is really just about love. If you don’t have a boyfriend/girlfriend, then spend the evening with the people that you love. Unfortunately, the ones we love may have plans with their spouse or a date for the evening, but don’t let that get in the way of your fun. Gather your single friends together and host a game night or go out to dinner, go to the movies, or do whatever it is that you and your friends enjoy! Just because you don’t have a significant other, doesn’t mean that your life is on hold, so don’t treat it like it is!
  2. Try something new you’ve always wanted to doIf you’re upset about Valentine’s day, one of the reasons you’re likely upset is because your friends/ family all have plans and you don’t. That’s great! Now’s the time to try something new (since your other option is sitting at home, eating chocolates, and crying into your pillow while watching a sappy movie, just kidding). Getting out into the world and pushing yourself out of your comfort zone is not only something to do, but can be empowering and life changing! If you’re afraid that you’re going to encounter too many couples, bring along a single friend or sibling, or even a married friend who happens to not have plans (just because you’re married doesn’t automatically mean that you’ll have plans on Valentine’s day). Whether you’ve wanted to try a cooking class, cake decorating, swing dancing, or Krav Maga now’s your chance to explore! Embrace the blessing of singleness and try something new! You never know what you might learn about yourself.
  3. Host an anti-Valentine’s day movie nightIf you have other single friends, roommates, or just a married friend whose spouse is working that evening, consider hosting an anti-Valentine’s day movie night. You can have a pot luck of snacks or dinner and choose movies that are in no way sappy or romantic (unless you want to watch a sappy movie, just to laugh at the cheesiness of it all). Gather among a community or watch a movie by yourself, whatever you do, just make sure that you enjoy yourself. Remember, you’re single, not dead, so it’s okay to have on Valentine’s day.
  4. Volunteer your time with people who may also be alone on Valentine’s dayIt’s important to remember that you are never really alone in anything. There are always people who could use a warm smile and some company, which you may have the ability and calling to provide. Consider asking around your church or community to see if there are any seniors who may have lost a spouse or are alone and just need someone to talk to.I worked with seniors for almost 10 years and they tend to have great stories and wisdom to share, if you’re willing to take the time to listen. They also often genuinely appreciate having someone willing just to sit and talk with them. Psalm 71:9 says “Do not cast me off in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength is spent.” We are the hands and feet of Christ and we are called to care for those who need it, so instead of having a pity party, do some good and share Christ’s love with someone who may be alone and otherwise shut-in.
  5. Make gifts for friendsValentine’s day is commonly a time for romantic gifts, but if you don’t have a Valentine this year, consider spending the evening, making some thoughtful gifts for your friends and/or family. Your friends will surely appreciate receiving a gift from the heart. If you like, you can make it a group event for other singles where you can craft and have fun together!
  1. Spend some quality time with GodWhen we feel most alone is when we most need to spend time with God. There are many ways that you can spend time with your heavenly father. You could go on a walk and listen to worship music, meditate in prayer, or journal your thoughts to process through how you’re feeling about life. In my opinion, if you’re struggling with the idea of making it through Valentine’s day this year, I greatly encourage you to spend quality time with God. Not just the 5 or 10 minutes that you might read your bible or pray at the end of the day, but actually spend some time with Him. Share your doubts, your fears, your dreams and then take time to sit back and listen to what He has to say to you. He may grant you with a resounding “yes,” a certain “no,” or simply “not yet, my beloved child.” The only way you will know what He has in store for you is to communicate with Him and actually make an effort to listen to what He has to say.

While this list may not have completely restored your faith in Valentine’s day, I hope that you’ve at least realized that Valentine’s day doesn’t have to be a dread filled nightmare (okay, maybe that was a bit dramatic). Remember that Valentine’s day is mostly just a social convention, but being single is a true God-given blessing, even though it doesn’t always feel that way. Once you’re able to embrace your singleness and realize that God has given you this time and this trial as a way to draw you closer to Him, you will be able to empower yourself to live for God and be His light to the world.

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