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…


One thought on “”

  1. First, I’d like to express my appreciation for the amount of TV/movie references mentioned in this post. Second, while I agree that it’s a good idea to come up with ways to cope on such a day like Valentine’s Day, I think there’s a much simpler solution to feeling lonely on the holiday. I have a friend who complained to me about the same problem. “Why don’t I have a boyfriend? It’s Valentine’s Day and I don’t have a boyfriend!” I just looked at her and asked, “I don’t know, why don’t you have a boyfriend?”, even though I knew very well the answer to that. But I needed her to say it aloud for herself to hear. She started listing the reasons why she did not have a boyfriend or more like, reasons why she preferred not to have one at the moment. She wanted to focus on law school, she wanted her next boyfriend to be her future husband, and she had specific standards for her potential future husband. These were all choices she made for herself. When I reminded her that she chose to remain single until she met “the one”, she felt less sorry for herself. In fact, she found solace in the fact that she was someone who stuck by her values and accepted that she simply had different priorities at the moment. Holidays like Valentine’s Day tend to make single people feel insecure and inadequate. Common things I’ll hear from fellow single people are things like, “I don’t have a girlfriend/boyfriend. Something must be wrong with me.” In most cases, no, that’s not true. Most likely, you’re single because you chose to be and you shouldn’t feel bad about it.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: