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Valentine’s Day: A Survival Guide for the Single Girl

Verily blog. Vday

As a young single woman, the approach of Valentine’s Day usually comes with a certain amount of dread. I could wake up on the morning of February 14th, choose to wear black, roll my eyes at the flower deliveries that are whisked past my desk, and do nothing out of the ordinary. My indifference could be a silent statement that I am not one of those poor suckers who has bought into the commercialism that is Valentine’s Day.

But will that make me happy or keep me warm on this cold February day? Not a chance. Bitterness only makes a person happy when it comes in the form of baking chocolate. So how do I enjoy a day dedicated to romantic love?

1. Get some perspective. I enjoy romantic movies and feel happy for these strangers who find love. So why should I feel any differently about the people I know? When my coworker has a gorgeous display of flowers plopped on her desk, I will tell her how beautiful they are and that I am happy for her. It will feel much better than pretending I don’t care.

2. Don’t make it all about you. I am not the only single person in Manhattan, among my friends, or in my family. Instead of wallowing, I will send a card or flowers to a single girlfriend or sister. Just because its not from “The One”, does not mean I won’t make them feel loved.

3. Dress happy. Perhaps donning red or pink on the “day of love” is a tad cliché, but then again, so is a single woman walking around with a chip on her shoulder. Truthfully, a day that reminds me I have not met Mr. Right does not exactly make me want to skip out the front door in the morning. But it makes a huge difference when I deliberately choose that outfit that makes me feel beautiful and causes the uninhibited old man on the subway to say something embarrassing like “If I were 50 years younger…”.

4. Plan a night out with friends. I don’t have to be part of a single girl séance, willing the spirit of my future boyfriend to appear over my glass of red wine and sappy chick flick. Valentine’s Day is a wonderful excuse to gather all available friends—boys and girls—to celebrate being single and being loved. This Valentine’s Day I will pop a cork and check my singleton blues at the door.

5. Be kind to yourself. I don’t have to pretend that being single for the rest of my life would make me perfectly happy. But I will keep in mind that just because I don’t have someone to share angsty emotions and a candlelight dinner on this Valentine’s Day, does not mean that I am unlovable. I feel hopeful and loved every other day of the year, why should Valentine’s Day be any different?

And as for the commercialism that is Valentine’s Day? Ditch the heart-shaped box of chocolates and pre-made Hallmark card. Truly loving another person is enough—just be sure to leave a note and sign it “Your Valentine”.

(image via wearerandoms)

Monica Gabriel
Monica Gabriel is the Web Editor for Verily and Co-Host of Catching up with Kara and Monica on SiriusXM Radio. Monica surveys cultural trends and shares her thoughts on relationships and womanhood.
By: Monica Gabriel

Monica is the Relationship Editor for Verily Magazine and Managing Editor for i Believe in Love. Monica surveys cultural trends and shares her thoughts on relationships and womanhood.


  1. Taisha says:

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  2. […] the approach of Valentine’s Day finds you single and depressed, check out Monica Gabriel’s post at the Verily magazine blog which offers five pieces of advice to help you survive the parade of […]

  3. Kevin says:

    Hi Monica,

    As always I enjoy reading your posts, and hope to keep my comments brief. I really like your perspective on approaching Valentine’s day as acceptance with joy (and plan to do the same–perhaps I should write the man’s survival guide, which includes an encouragement to man-up)

    One thing that did strike me when reading your post was the following thoughts on a Valentine’s dinner: “I don’t have someone to share angsty emotions and a candlelight dinner.”

    There is an excellent section in C.S. Lewis’s “The Allegory of Love” that explains the nature of love, and love of a particularly “angsty” kind. This he notes, is common to the romantic perspective, one you seem to adopt. Why angst and not enthusiasm, or peace, or comfort, or joy? Perhaps that sounds like a strange question, but I’m not sure that “angst’ is the thing we should long for; in fact, angst is the very thing elicited by a particular form of romanticism, and which, further still, thrives on obstruction, distance, and inner-conflict–the latter of which, I think, is the foundation of “angst” in a relationship (i.e., the disparity between one’s feeling self and one’s choosing self) as well as the precursor to actual fear and what is called “Danger,” or “difficulty in granting.”

    While the love that is fanned to flames by absence is exhilarating, it seems to be the very thing contrary to enduring commitment, peace, and deep affection. Why not the peace of Christ instead of the storm of pronounced affection?

    You may, of course, simply mean that there are ‘nerves’ on a first date, which can be true. But I think the problem with angst is when one *delights (even when they say they don’t) in the “hardship” of romantic affection. This is when, for some, the ability to build an authentic friendship of virtue is undermined: the only way to keep angst–and thereby passion–alive is to remain distant from the lover or, in the man’s case, the beloved (whether in one’s heart or in practice), while friendship breaks down the distance that would otherwise produce a storm of romantic passion.

    Though difficult, I can’t help but think that the answer is authentic and genuine friendship. I’m not sure it’s possible in our culture, but the answer is to lay down the storm of passion and promise and to search instead for deep and enduring commitment. Only then would one have the *kind of grounding* that would lend itself directly to an enduring and marital union, which, after all, is the point and purpose of a pre-marital relationship.

    I hope you have a good one. Would love to hear your thoughts!

    God Bless.


  4. JuLee says:

    I agree! Does no good to pretend we are ignoring Valentine’s Day and makes us look bad. On V Day, I am wearing black skinny jeans, leopard ballets, a burgundy velvet peasant top and a vintage heart brooch. Why not make myself a part of the day? I can buy roses for myself too I have discovered . . . and champagne. :)

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