The 5 Most Loving Ways To Spend Valentine’s Day Alone

Being alone and being lonely isn’t the same thing! There are plenty of ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day by spending some time loving yourself.
Photograph Of Grey-Haired Woman Smiling While Hugging Giant Red Heart Cut From Cardboard

Just when you think you’re finally free from the winter holidays and associated social gatherings that left you feeling like you have “I’M SINGLE!” tattooed across your forehead, along comes Valentine’s Day to remind you — once again — that you’re alone. 

Key Takeaways:

  • The commercialization of Valentine’s Day creates a stigma around being single and causes many people to feel more alone or lonely at this time of year, despite 46% of Americans thinking Valentine’s Day is over-commercialized.
  • Whether you’re staying busy and seeing friends or just spending some time alone and relaxing, Valentine’s Day alone doesn’t have to be a wasted day.

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You can tell yourself it’s a meaningless holiday invented by the chocolate and flower companies all you want to, but sometimes you just can’t help feeling lonely on Valentine’s Day.

You’re not failing at life if you aren’t starring in your personal Hallmark movie right now.

Romantic films and incessant Valentine’s Day commercials tend to make us single folk feel inadequate because we didn’t fall in love during a comedic meet-cute and no one is going to surprise us with diamonds or a romantic getaway.

I get it. I spent my first Christmas and New Year’s Eve as a single person very recently and it was hard to face that reality, myself.

As I considered it more closely and removed those societal expectations, however, I eventually came to realize that I can be my own damned valentine.

I can “be mine.”

Look, just because you’re single on Valentine’s Day, it doesn’t mean you can’t have a fulfilling and meaningful day — and I’ll tell you how.

5 Loving Ways To Spend Valentine’s Day Alone

photo of a woman hugging herself to love herself on valentine's day while being alone

It’s tempting to stay home and hide until this romance-centered holiday is over, but you have an opportunity to do something great with this day.

I promise you that there are plenty of ways to spend your Valentine’s Day if you’re single and no — feeling sorry for yourself isn’t one of them.

You might be saying to yourself, “Why does Valentine’s Day make me sad? Oh — I know! It’s because I don’t have a valentine!”

Ditch that attitude in the trash and read on. You’ll be glad you did because there are plenty of things to do alone on Valentine’s Day.

1. Embrace Yourself

I don’t necessarily mean you need to physically hug yourself — although you totally should because it just feels good — but use this day to honor and love yourself in the way you need.

Not sure how that manifests for you? Think about the ways you’d like to show yourself some love.

For instance, you can use the evening to relax and pamper yourself during a spa night at home. Have a bath and paint your toenails. Order your favorite takeout and splurge on a nice bottle of wine while you’re at it.

Masturbate all night long if that’s what sounds good.

My point is this: if you’re not sure how to celebrate Valentine’s Day alone, start by making it all about you.

If you’re feeling romantic, buy candy and flowers for yourself.

No law says you can’t enjoy seeing a dozen roses in a vase just because they weren’t a gift from someone else and chocolate is just as tasty no matter who bought it.

You can take things a step further and buy your own jewelry, too.

The real benefit of doing this? You’ll get exactly what you want, with no awkward “Wow! I LOVE it so much!” after receiving the ugliest piece of jewelry you’d never wear in public.

Seriously. There is some ugly jewelry out there. Don’t let yourself be a victim.

2. Embrace Others

Share the love on Valentine’s Day by doing exactly that — spending time with others and showing them that you care.

If your parents are still alive and nearby, for instance, why not cook them a romantic candlelit dinner for two? When is the last time they had an opportunity to enjoy something like that?

Even if you are the world’s worst cook, order takeout from their favorite restaurant, buy a bottle of wine, some dessert, and serve each course to them throughout the evening.

You could even go all out and put on your most professional-looking server attire (white shirt, black pants) to really make it formal and special.

And yes, you should do the dishes yourself afterward, too.

If your parents aren’t around anymore, do you have married friends with children and who never have an opportunity to enjoy a date night together?

Tell them to get a sitter for the evening and come over to your place for the same type of intimate dinner treat. If they’d rather go out, offer to babysit so they can.

By showing your love for others in this way, you’re celebrating Valentine’s Day, honoring love, and keeping your mind off of your own loneliness in the process.

You can’t feel bad about yourself when you’re making others feel good.

On that note, send flowers to your friends to let them know you’re thinking about them.

If that’s too expensive, buy one bouquet of roses from the grocery store — they’re usually cheaper that way — along with a bag of Hershey’s Kisses and give a flower with a Kiss to each.

Small gestures like this can mean a lot.

3. Avoid Social Media

It’s a known fact that social media (including Facebook) can affect feelings of loneliness during even the best of times.

Do you really want to spend your Valentine’s Day scrolling through photos of other people dressed up for a night on the town? Romantic dinners laid out on pristine tables?

Sickeningly-sweet proposals and candid engagement ring close-ups?

No. No, you do not. Neither do I.

Do yourself a favor and stay the hell off of social media on Valentine’s Day.

Instead, binge-watch a show on Netflix. Read a book. Do some yoga. Fly a kite. Watch some paint dry. Floss your teeth. Do your taxes.

Literally, do anything else besides picking up your phone to scroll through your socials.

You’ll thank me for it later.

4. Avoid Dine-In Restaurants

If you’ve ever gone out for dinner on Valentine’s Day, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about here.

Long wait times — even if you had a reservation.

Servers that take several tries to get your order right because they’re so busy and can’t even think straight. Eventually, you give up and just eat the mistake they gave you.

A blend of 800 different colognes and perfumes mingling with one another because everyone’s trying to impress their dates.

Background conversations that are so loud you can’t even concentrate on the date sitting across the table from you.

“Spur-of-the-moment” proposals popping up left and right like a game of Whack-A-Mole.

The entire ordeal is an attack on all of your senses! You’re not missing out on anything if you don’t have a romantic dinner date out on Valentine’s Day.

Instead, just order in your favorite takeout and enjoy the food in the peace and quiet of home.

Wear your pajamas. Hell, eat naked while sprawled out on the couch if you want to — this is your night.

5. Ignore The Whole Day

Obviously, you probably won’t be able to avoid this holiday entirely — especially if you’re watching TV with commercials (“Every kiss begins with Kay…” in case you forgot) but you can decide not to celebrate or acknowledge Valentine’s Day at all.

It’s perfectly fine to be alone on Valentine’s and just treat it as any old day — and plenty of people do — so go about your business as usual. Even if it just involves doing something you enjoy alone at home.

I still think it’s worth hitting a local store’s candy aisle at the end of the day because by then, all of the Valentine’s Day sweets are heavily discounted.

Just a helpful piece of life advice.

Although it gets hyped up as a day that’s all about romantic love, Valentine’s Day can be whatever you make it.

Why Do People Feel Lonely On Valentine’s Day?

photo of a woman making a half heart against glass showing a reflection of her hand to make a whole heart to symbolize loneliness trying to love yourself on valentine's day

If spending Valentine’s Day solo has you feeling a little down, you’re not alone.

One study done by the AARP Foundation discovered that 26% of non-married adults who don’t have a significant other are more likely to feel lonely when thinking about Valentine’s day than those who are dating.

But they also found that 19% of those who are dating and 6% of those in a romantic relationship also experience loneliness — so being paired up with a mate isn’t a catch-all “fix” for Valentine’s Day loneliness.

In general, nearly a quarter of adults (23%) have negative feelings toward the holiday.

In the pursuit to sell everything from candy and greeting cards to 24-carat diamonds and luxury cars, corporations surround us with images of happy couples when February approaches.

If you’re over companies exploiting St. Valentine to sell you his-and-hers Pelotons — gag me with an exercise band — you’re not alone in that, either.

Besides the constant barrage of blissful love we see in advertising and TV, there are lots of reasons to feel lonely on Valentine’s Day.

Many people feel alone on Valentine’s Day because of:

We all experience loneliness around Valentine’s Day for different reasons and the way you personally feel about the holiday is completely valid — whatever it happens to be.

The important thing to remember is this: Valentine’s Day is about love — and self-love counts.

Instead of focusing on the romantic relationship you don’t have or creating an online dating profile on every app humanly possible, flipping the script and honoring the love you have for yourself can make all the difference over Valentine’s Day.

Many Americans admit to feeling lonely on Valentine’s Day and to being tired of the fuss that surrounds it.

Closing Thoughts

It’s easy to get wrapped up in the Valentine’s Day hullabaloo and allow your single status to make you feel lonely, but there are plenty of good things to do on Valentine’s day alone.

If you’re trying to figure out how to survive Valentine’s Day while single, it’s important to understand that being alone and being lonely isn’t the same thing!

There are plenty of ways — on Valentine’s Day or any other day — to spend some time loving yourself.

And you never need a holiday to do that.

Editor’s Note: This article is part of The Roots Of Loneliness Project, the first-of-its-kind resource that comprehensively explores the phenomenon of loneliness and over 100 types we might experience during our lives.

Find Help Now

If you’re struggling with loneliness on Valentine’s Day, we’ve put together resources to meet you wherever you are — whether you want someone to talk to right now, or are looking for longer-term ways to help ease your loneliness.