I Used ChatGPT to Woo My Valentine. It Bombed, Mostly

Roses are red, violets are blue, can AI write love letters better than you?

Lisa Lacy Lead AI Writer
Lisa joined CNET after more than 20 years as a reporter and editor. Career highlights include a 2020 story about problematic brand mascots, which preceded historic name changes, and going viral in 2021 after daring to ask, "Why are cans of cranberry sauce labeled upside-down?" She has interviewed celebrities like Serena Williams, Brian Cox and Tracee Ellis Ross. Anna Kendrick said her name sounds like a character from Beverly Hills, 90210. Rick Astley asked if she knew what Rickrolling was. She lives outside Atlanta with her son, two golden retrievers and two cats.
Expertise Technology | AI | Advertising | Retail
Lisa Lacy
6 min read
A throwback valentine with cherubs, flowers and hearts.
Illustration by GraphicaArtis/Getty Images

It has all the trappings of a beach read turned Hollywood blockbuster: Smitten but shy boy meets girl and uses ChatGPT to supplement his romantic shortcomings. But just as she thinks he's met The One, she realizes all is not as it seems and must choose between giving the man she thought she knew a second chance or fleeing his betrayal.

Working title: Knight in Shining AI-rmor.

We've seen this theme of insecurity-driven subterfuge repeatedly on page and screen, from Cyrano de Bergerac to Lady Glitter Sparkles. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

And yet a study from computer security company McAfee found nearly half of men are willing to take the risk: 45% were considering AI to write messages for Valentine's Day 2024.

There's an interesting dichotomy: While 69% of respondents said they've seen more and better responses from potential love interests when using AI-generated content, 64% distrust anyone who uses said content on their dating profiles -- and 57% said they would be hurt or offended if they found out AI wrote their Valentine's message.

As generative AI has expanded, we've used chatbots from OpenAI, Microsoft, Google and more to generate content ideas and to write blog posts, emails, poems and songs. But like using ChatGPT to write a college admissions essay, there are distinct risks to harnessing AI to play matchmaker. Namely: Your target will find out you didn't really write anything and your efforts will backfire.

So, like Carrie Bradshaw, I couldn't help but wonder: Is ChatGPT the virtual wingman we never knew we needed? Or are we better off flying solo?

I put the chatbot to the test with a series of Valentine's Day queries to see if (hu)man or machine is better equipped to play Cupid.

First Query: Help me write a message to my valentine.

My Dearest [Valentine's Name],

As Valentine's Day dawns upon us, my heart swells with gratitude for the love we share. You are the light of my life, the melody to my soul's song. In your presence, I find solace, laughter, and unwavering support.

Today, I want to celebrate not just the love we express on this occasion, but the love that permeates every moment we spend together. Your kindness, your understanding, and your affection are the greatest gifts I could ever receive.

Thank you for being my rock, my confidant, and my best friend. With you, every day feels like a journey filled with wonder and possibility. Here's to many more adventures, to countless memories yet to be made, and to a love that knows no bounds.

Happy Valentine's Day, my love. May our bond continue to grow stronger with each passing heartbeat.

With all my love,

[Your Name]

Verdict: It's a little over the top. You may want to pare it down a bit -- and point to some specific examples rather than paint such broad strokes, which could be applicable to anyone.

With that in mind…

Second query: Write a Valentine's Day poem that rhymes. My partner likes Bigfoot, Tottenham Hotspur and tacos.

In the forest deep, where legends roam,
Bigfoot whispers secrets, making hearts home.
With Tottenham's pride, our passions ignite,
In the field of dreams, love takes its flight.

Amidst the trees, where mysteries hide,
Our love like Bigfoot, steadfast, abide.
In the stadium's roar, where dreams unfold,
Tottenham's colors, a love story told.

Tacos in hand, we share laughter and cheer,
In each other's arms, love draws near.
Bigfoot, Spurs, and tacos, our unique blend,
In love's embrace, our hearts ascend.

So on Valentine's Day, let's celebrate,
Our love, like Bigfoot, cannot abate.
With Tottenham's spirit, and tacos in tow,
Our journey together, continues to grow.

Verdict: Honestly, I love it. Don't get me wrong -- it's absurd, so please don't think you can get away with passing this off as your own. Still, I think the fact you made some effort to generate a personalized poem will go over well, provided you can think of three things your valentine really likes and you're honest about its origins.

Third query: What gift should I give for Valentine's Day? My partner likes pizza, the Kansas City Chiefs, karate and Panic at the Disco.

Considering your partner's interests, here are some Valentine's Day gift ideas:

Homemade Pizza Kit: Put together a DIY pizza-making kit with all the ingredients needed to create delicious homemade pizzas. You can include their favorite toppings, sauces, and even a pizza stone if they don't already have one.

Kansas City Chiefs Merchandise: Look for official merchandise from the Kansas City Chiefs, such as a jersey, cap, or hoodie featuring their favorite players or the team logo. This can be a great way to show support for their favorite football team.

Karate Gear or Class: Consider gifting them high-quality karate gear such as a new gi (uniform), sparring gloves, or a punching bag for home practice. Alternatively, you could enroll them in a karate class if they've expressed interest in martial arts.

Panic at the Disco Vinyl or Merch: If they're a fan of Panic at the Disco, consider getting them a vinyl record of one of their albums or some official band merchandise like a t-shirt or poster.

Customized Gift Basket: Combine their interests by creating a customized gift basket that includes items related to pizza, the Kansas City Chiefs, karate, and Panic at the Disco. You can include snacks, memorabilia, and other thoughtful items that cater to their passions.

Ultimately, the best gift is one that shows you've put thought into their interests and preferences. Choose something that resonates with them and reflects your appreciation for who they are.

Verdict: NFL merch for an NFL fan? Inspiring. You may be better off asking outright what your valentine wants -- or falling back on old standbys like flowers, chocolate, etc.

Fourth query: Help me update my dating profile for Valentine's Day. Write a 500-character dating app bio for a single mom who works as a journalist and likes swimming and golden retrievers.

Single mom and journalist, diving into life with passion. Love swimming laps and cuddling with golden retrievers. Seeking genuine connections beyond the screen. Let's share stories, laughter, and sunsets together. Bonus points if you love dogs and enjoy deep conversations. Let's make our own adventures!

Verdict: Meh. All that's missing is I like to laugh and -- shudder -- my love language is physical touch. Granted, I'm a writer, but it wouldn't take much to blow this out of the water.

And the rose goes to…

With all we hear about generative AI's content generation skills, I for one was relieved to see the results in three out of four examples. The Valentine's Day message is too long and flowery, the gift ideas are obvious, and the dating profile is generic to a fault. Human creativity still has an edge!

If, however, you're looking for some creative inspiration for Valentine's Day, these examples may provide a foundation to build upon.

The poem is the single exception. Given enough time, I could probably write something comparable. But certainly not in three seconds. And so, for now at least, poetry seems ChatGPT's strong suit.

If you find yourself staring at a blank page on Feb. 14 and simply can't figure out how to express yourself, remember honesty is the best policy. Tell your valentine you struggled to put your feelings into words and sought out some help from AI. Better safe than sorry!

Editors' note: CNET is using an AI engine to help create some stories. For more, see this post.