Valentine's Day for Single People

I can see them now: a dozen red roses tied with a ribbon, artisan chocolates wrapped neatly in a heart-shaped box, petals strewn across a bed with scented candles burning in a dimly lit room…

Don’t let the clichés fool you—Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be all about romance and soulmates.

In fact, it didn’t even start out that way. Though the exact origin of St. Valentine’s Day is still unclear, there are several theories regarding where the tradition came from. The first is the belief that Christians invented it to Christianize the pagan festival of Lupercalia—a festival of love and fertility, held from February 13th to the 15th, where women were hit by bloody goat skins and were paired up with men via lottery-draw. (Real romantic, eh?)  

The second and third potential origins are quite similar in nature, and thankfully less beastly than the first. Both versions involve a man named Valentine living in the Roman Empire. In the first, Valentine wedded young loving couples despite the no-marriage decree of Emperor Claudius II, who had decided that unmarried young men made the perfect soldiers. Subsequently, Valentine was put to death. In the second version, an imprisoned Valentine fell in love with a sweet lady who often visited him in his cell, and wrote her a letter signed “from your Valentine” right before he was put to death.

Luckily, blood and death are no longer staples for romance (good thing, too—the only goat skins I like are the ones still on the goats). Instead, they now seem to be more about flowers, chocolates, couple-time, lingerie, maybe some Woohoos in the night, but like I said before—it doesn’t have to be. You don’t need to be in a relationship to enjoy the holiday.

Remember in elementary school, when teachers gave out candy to their students, and everyone exchanged cute little cards with chocolates taped to them? Valentine’s Day is like that. It’s all about love. Though oftentimes it’s thought to be more about loving your significant other, there are so many other people in life who deserve the recognition, and there’s no better time than Valentine's Day to express your appreciation.

For one, love yourself. While relationships can fade away with time and break up, you’re always going to have yourself, and it’s important to cherish that underlooked and integral relationship. Whether you plan on taking some time to chill and relax—maybe run a bubble bath or put on a face mask—or you plan on going out on the town with your savings in tow, make sure to take a moment on Valentine’s Day to nurture the relationship you have with yourself. If you need some ideas on what to do, check out my friend Fatima’s article here.

Love your parents, too. Sure, they have Mother’s Day and Father’s Day where they can be the focus of attention, but there will never be enough days to thank them and show them your appreciation. Many parents quietly work hard for their children—making sure they are fed and well, taking them to school and shows, and buying them gifts. They also push them to be their best, and discipline them even though it’s hard. There’s no one right way to parent, but many parents have still done a pretty good job at navigating the minefield. Let them know you appreciate them this Valentine’s Day. You don’t need anything fancy—maybe a sugary snack, a little card, or even just a few words.

Don’t forget your siblings. Siblings are a pain in the butt (I know, I have one too), but somewhere in your heart (somewhere deep—real deep), they have a special place. It’s like a pizza with a slice dedicated especially for them, only they didn’t have to lick it to secure it. Some siblings respond well to kind words and truthful expressions of appreciation, but mine will run away even at the slightest hint of an oncoming hug. If you suspect your siblings will run away, throw some chocolates at them. Alternatively, you can barge into their room and yell “love ya” before slamming the door so you don’t have to hear any sarcastic feedback. If, however, your siblings are normal, approach them like a friend. The point is: appreciate your siblings.

Friends! Your hand-picked second-family, your home away from home, the blood to your circulatory system, the markers to your whiteboard, the water to your coffee grains, the cheerleaders to your football team… Your friends are with you through thick and thin, ready to present you with advice or even just quiet support, ready to buy you coffee when they see your morning eyebags, and always chastising you for not listening to weather warnings when you come to school in sneakers in the snow (or maybe that last one’s just me). Whatever the case may be, they’re always there. Whether you give them some chocolates or a little handmade card—or you hug them for a little (or a lot) too long—don’t forget about your friends this Valentine’s Day. Buy them a Tim’s coffee—with Roll Up the Rim, you might just unknowingly buy them the cheapest car ever.

Last but not least, spread the love. You’ve seen those videos where people hand out roses to strangers or nice little messages on post-it notes. While it’s not necessary to do something that puts you in the spotlight like that, it’s never a bad idea to hand around a few chocolates to staff, classmates, professors, or even strangers, in an attempt to make their day a little more special.

So, if you’re still swiping on Bumble or Tinder to no avail, never fear! Valentine’s Day is a great day to send out love to anyone and everyone in your life, including yourself. So stay calm, stay swiping (if you want), and get ready to pelt some chocolates at your siblings. T-4 days.