Don't Hide! How to Have a Great Valentine's Day if You're Single

The day can be great, even if you aren't paired up.

Erin Carson Former Senior Writer
Erin Carson covered internet culture, online dating and the weird ways tech and science are changing your life.
Expertise Erin has been a tech reporter for almost 10 years. Her reporting has taken her from the Johnson Space Center to San Diego Comic-Con's famous Hall H. Credentials
  • She has a master's degree in journalism from Syracuse University.
Erin Carson
3 min read

Don't be self-conscious. You're fine.

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Valentine's Day is almost here. If you're reading this, I assume it's either out of morbid curiosity about how the single half lives -- or because you're trying to figure out what to do with yourself and your feelings on the 14th. 


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Regardless, Love Syncs is here to help, mainly by skipping through the room with a large, glittery banner that says, "Singles Awareness Day is a trap." There are so many other ways -- better ways -- to spend the day than feeling bad or self-conscious. Here are some tips to get you through the holiday.

Don't hide

Sometimes the hardest thing you can do is take up space when you feel you don't belong. That is -- unless you're a dude on the subway with a wide sitting stance, in which case TAKE UP LESS SPACE. 

Round up your friends who also don't have plans and make a night of it. Get dinner out. Go to a movie. Treat it like any other night you might be hanging out with your friends. 

The point is, you don't have to have a chip on your shoulder. Love Syncs is a chip-free zone, though I am still trying to suss out who put one in my fancy Anthropologie Old Havana Sugar Bowl in 2017. I will find you.

Send your friends Valentines

Look. There's only so much you can control about your own experience of Valentine's. What you can do, though, is help make someone else's better. 

So, do something for your friends. This could be anything from sending someone an e-gift card for a coffee to mailing out some actual old-school Valentine's Day cards. 

There's no rule that says Valentine's Day is only for romantic love. And if you're wondering, "What's the point? No one is bringing me a random Valentine's token," first off: WELL NOT WITH THAT ATTITUDE. Second: Not gonna lie, there's a bit of self-serving happening when you're nice to people.

My colleague Alison DeNisco Rayome's story about the science behind happiness includes how random acts of kindness play into our innate impulses toward pro-social behavior. Alison also is a known purveyor of surprise baked goods. Doing something nice for someone else lights up your brain's reward pathways. In other words, making others feel good makes you feel good. 

Pick a small, kind gesture and refocus your Valentine's Day on someone else.  

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Take a break from dating apps

In an earlier Love Syncs, I wrote about how Valentine's marks the end of a busy streak in online dating. Starting with Cuffing Season in the fall, daters statistically seem to make more of an effort to partner up through the holidays and just beyond, when the New Year brings new resolutions about dating. 

But if you're treating Valentine's like a deadline, I would just offer this: Maybe don't.

Take a breather before you burn out. In the grand scheme of the universe, it doesn't matter if you're single on Valentine's or not. Focus on finding someone you actually like, not just getting a warm body lined up. And in doing so, you don't need the contrived pressure of the holiday to influence your swiping.

Buy the discount candy

You're not eating your feelings. You're fighting inflation. 

CNET's Love Syncs is an occasional advice column focused on online dating. If you've got a question about finding love via app, send it to erin.carson@cnet.com for consideration.