STUPID CUPID, STOP PICKING ON ME! By Carlea
A shout out to our single readers.
That February date approaching is just what you need, right? A holiday to commemorate your status. As if being the third, fifth, seventh, or whatever wheel when you hang with your coupled friends isn’t enough, now even the calendar reminds you of being the “odd” person out. Being by yourself on such an in-your-face-schmoopie-kissy-frilly-schmaltzy day can really pack a wallop.
It’s really unfair. Maybe you’re a lone wolf by choice. Maybe you had a recent break-up. Maybe you’ve been out of the dating scene for a while. Maybe your partner passed away. Maybe you’re in a relationship but wondering where it will go (to paraphrase Beyoncé, if he likes it why doesn’t he put a ring on it?). Maybe you’re actually in a relationship but your partner just isn’t that into you. Whatever the reason, how do you cope with flying solo on Valentine’s Day?
The most important step is to change your perspective from being lonely to being alone. There’s a pretty powerful difference in connotation. “Being lonely” suggests something is missing or you’re lacking in some way; there’s a message of pity or rejection. “Being alone” says that, at this moment in time, you are an individual. You do not need a significant other to be significant.
Just because words like “lonely” and “alone” are usually synonyms doesn’t mean they express the same feeling. (While writing this, I’m having a flashback to the scene in the recent Muppets™ movie when Mary [Amy Adams] is telling Gary [Jason Segal] how she spent the whole day walking around Hollywood by herself. She really got her bitter point across with the help of a thesaurus.)
Once you can accept the difference between these two words, you may see that you’re not really lonely or alone. The expression “on your own but not alone” is quite a fitting coping strategy here. Remind yourself that, yes, you might not have a partner but you have friends; you have family; you have colleagues, acquaintances, classmates, etc. What’s the point of wallowing in the idea of “alone” when you actually have a support system at the ready? Kind of illogical, isn’t it?
So take advantage of your social network and plan an event. “Friendsgiving” is all the rage around Thanksgiving. Why not spread that love in February, too? Celebrate “Galentine’s Day” with your girlfriends. Call your cousin to find out about his new job. Students, meet some classmates on campus for a study session, with plenty of pizza, of course.
Your social group is busy? Go on the “coping attack”: treat yourself to something special. Pick up your favorite dinner; buy yourself the shirt you’ve been eyeing; go to the movies; get a mani/pedi; take a long walk or hit the gym; hang out at the local bookstore; challenge yourself to try something new.
Two final notes of caution. First of all remember that many spas, restaurants, and other venues offer Valentine specials. If you aren’t up to seeing people celebrating together, perhaps it’s better to spend your time somewhere else. Secondly, if you decide on a bar or a local “meet up” place nearby, be careful! Some of the folks you meet might be less interested in romance and more interested in not being lonely.
If all else fails, take a page from the TV show FRIENDS and have a boyfriend bonfire. Apparently, good looking firefighters are just waiting for your call…