Valentine's Day brings a spike in searches for 'alone' GIFs

Take comfort in data that shows you're not alone when you're expressing your Valentine's loneliness through scenes of weeping.

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
2 min read
Chart showing Valentine's Day searches, which spike for "crying," "lonely" and "eyeroll."

Valentine's Day sees spikes in the usage of sad GIFs.


Get ready, lonely hearts. Valentine's Day is fast approaching, and the internet knows you're bummed about it.

Data from GIF keyboard Tenor, out Wednesday, shows that when Feb. 14 rolls around, searches for the perfect GIF to express emotions like loneliness spike.

In fact, Valentine's Day sees a 455 percent uptick in searches for the word "alone." "Lonely" jumps by 321 percent, "sad" by 155 percent, and because there are always cynics out there, "eyeroll" increases by 441 percent.  

"The high volume of negative emotional searches on Valentine's Day initially surprised us," said David McIntosh, Tenor's co-founder and CEO.

SpongeBob, alone.


Valentine's Day can be a fraught time of year, whether you're single, married, dating, partnered or in the classic "it's complicated" mire. The internet, at least, provides some companionship as people work out how they're feeling about their love lives. Dating site Match.com says that peak dating season runs from Dec. 26 through Valentine's. In that time span, daters send more than 50 million messages. In 2015, Spotify said "I Love You Always Forever" by Donna Lewis was the top Valentine's Day song globally -- how romantic.

While you may think of GIFs as something for lighthearted situations, they're used for plenty of serious or negative emotions, too, McIntosh said.

The top "alone" GIFs include SpongeBob SquarePants sitting forlornly at a table and Professor Utonium from Powerpuff Girls looking at the empty pillow next to him in bed.

Not everyone is mopey about Valentine's, though. The top "love" GIFs include a Minion kissing the camera and a pair of affectionate bunnies. And a GIF of Chris Pratt from the NBC comedy "Parks and Recreation" showering himself in flower petals gets 6,019 percent boost.

As you might imagine, searches for "love" and "kisses" see increases as well (450 percent and 267 percent, respectively), even if they're getting a run for their money from those whose cup runneth not over with love.

But hey, when it comes to feeling alone, you're actually not alone.

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