Party for one: How singles celebrate Valentine’s Day

Photo by Alisa Anton/Unsplash 

THE most romantic day of the year is here once again, and the telltale signs are everywhere. An increase in flower sightings — especially red roses — and decorations that range from sweet to overbearing, and love songs being played make sure that you don’t miss out on the holiday.

It’s Valentine’s Day, the one day where public displays of affection are celebrated all over the world. For cynics, it’s an occasion invented to produce consumerist desires. But for everyone else, it’s an opportunity to celebrate love through sweet gestures, endearing gifts, or romantic dinners.

It’s easy to feel alone during this particular day though, especially if you’re flying solo. The romantic festivities for Valentine’s Day tend to cater more to couples, after all. Because of that, singles find different ways to get through the day.

Work first

Valentine’s Day happens to fall on a Thursday this year, which means it’s just another workday for Narlyn Balidoy, a junior research consultant for a BPO company.

“Work is always busy, so I don’t have time to celebrate Valentine’s Day,” she said, adding that she doesn’t have plans to do anything after work hours either. “I work in a business district; it’ll just be a hassle to brave through the thick crowd.

Being single, her feelings toward Valentine’s Day are mostly neutral. A lot of times people feel the need to seek company on this day, but Narlyn said she’s fine on her own.

“Even with couples around, I really don’t feel compelled to get a date. I don’t want to wallow in a pity party. I chose to be independent — and I like it,” she said.

Figuring it out

For Patricia Benito, plans for Valentine’s Day aren’t concrete yet. Currently, she’s in an “it’s complicated” relationship — that weird limbo between being more than friends but less than lovers.

“I’d like to think I have plans, but he hasn’t really asked yet,” she said.

She admitted that, in the past, Valentine’s Day wasn’t special for her. “I didn’t care that people were being very public with their displays of affection,” she said. “But now it’s different. The day is approaching and I still don’t know if I should get him something because we’re not exactly dating.”

For singles who are not totally “single,” Valentine’s Day is like walking a tightrope between expecting something to happen and not wanting to expect that something will happen.

Benito, at least, has a backup plan in mind for herself.

“I’d probably go to a Valentine’s Day gig for singles and just party,” she shared.

“There are a lot of people during Valentine’s Day but it’s nice because even if you’re alone, you won’t feel alone,” she added.

Self-love

All types of love are celebrated during Valentine’s Day, and that includes self-love. For Chester Padilla, who experienced a breakup months ago, that’s exactly what he has in mind for the occasion.

It’s a completely different experience, celebrating Valentine’s Day alone when you had someone to celebrate it with in the past. Sometimes, the day becomes a bitter, if not cruel, a reminder that your heart isn’t what it used to be anymore.

“I get a little nostalgic, and there’s always that twinge whenever I see other couples,” Padilla admitted.

“But you learn everything happens for a reason,” he continued. “And acceptance is key. This year, I just want to spend Valentine’s Day with myself.”

Other ways to celebrate the day could be to host a dinner party with your fellow single friends, splurge for yourself with a decadent meal complete with dessert or a treatment like a massage, have a movie marathon with films that make you feel good, or unplug from technology and stay off social media.

In the end, there are many ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day, whether you’re in a relationship or single — what matters is that you don’t let the weight of the day pull you down.

Valentine’s Day is just one day, after all; come February 15, it’ll be a thing of the past.

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