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The 14th of February is a date that will never fail to strike fear into our hearts. For those in a relationship, Valentine’s Day brings with it the pressure to show affection for your partner, to plan the perfect date, to be in love. For single people, it can feel lonely, isolating and even depressing. And for those caught in the middle, it brings with it dread, confusion and perhaps even romantic feelings where, on any other day, there are none. It appears that the day stirs up a range of emotions for us all – what should we do on this day? Should we feel the need to mark the occasion, and even more so if we are single? Do we stay at home and cry into a pillow, or watch a stream of rom-coms whilst eating a box of chocolates?

Having been single for every Valentine’s Day in my life so far, I have a lot to say. I’ve tried and tested every method. And trust me – wallowing alone is not the way to spend it. Rather than staying in by yourself, crying over Bridget Jones, and ordering pizza, I think there’s a much more refreshing way to celebrate. And yes, I said celebrate. Because you have your whole life ahead of you for when love comes your way. Enjoy your youth, single life, and friends. Don’t wait for time to pass until you find the one.

Step 1: assemble the squad. Naturally, one of the things that makes Valentine’s Day so difficult is having friends who are all in relationships. Expand your horizons and reach out to your fellow singletons. Whether it’s a ‘Galentine’s’ vibe or just a collection of friends, don’t go through the day on your own.

Step 2: do something different. Banned are the words ‘night in’ and ‘chilled vibes.’ Think pubs, bars and restaurants – it doesn’t matter if they’re full of loved-up couples, you’re all just there to have a good time. Personally, I like to book a new cocktail bar or cool restaurant to really try something new.

Step 3: to match the excitement of going somewhere new, dress to equal the occasion. Try that outfit you’ve been meaning to wear, get out those knee-high boots, or pair an LBD with killer heels. Anything that makes you feel gorgeous, sexy, and confident.

 Step 4: relax. It’s going to be okay. Being surrounded by couples can be hard, even more so if this is your first Valentine’s single in a while. Breathe through the anxiety, and just let the drinks keep flowing. Although not flowing so much that it makes you drunk call your ex…

I think Valentine’s Day can help us to re-evaluate our approach to our relationship with ourselves. How can we lift ourselves up and be happy without a partner? What are the acts of love and respect we can show ourselves? How can we be our own best friends? Start small. Start with one night. First, allow yourself to accept, and only later will you grow to love yourself, without the love of someone else.   

Erin Waks

Durham '22

Hi! My name is Erin and I'm a French and Arabic student. I love writing about all things feminism, culture, languages and arts!
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