Do not, under any circumstances, pity your single friends just because Valentine's Day is coming up. There are plenty of people flying solo who enjoy the holiday; as such, there are definitely things to avoid saying to single people who love Valentine's Day. "If your single friend loves Valentine's Day, don't be bitter and rain on their love parade by throwing shade," sex and relationship expert Psalm Isadora tells Bustle. Indeed, agrees Rob Alex, who created Sexy Challenges and Mission Date Night with his wife. "I believe that a celebration of love is a wonderful thing, and you can channel your excitement for Valentine's Day into appreciating all the things you love," he tells Bustle. If your single pals want to rock out on V-Day, more power to them.
"I think loving V-Day is based on your desire for love," adds Alex. On his list of favorite valentine actions: "Send your parents a card, draw hearts in the snow on a friend's car and see their reaction, take some heart-shaped dog treats to the humane society, or just treat yourself special on this day." After all, "treat yo' self" has become something of a millennial anthem.
"If you're not in a relationship, you can practice by sharing a special gift with yourself, as loving yourself is super important," says Alex, AKA the Guru of Getting It On. So don't be mopey on your single pals' behalf, because that's just obnoxious. According to seven relationship experts, here are 11 things to not say to your single friends on Valentine's Day.
1. Don't Mention It's Commercial
"Don't mention that it is more about spending money than true love, and was created to sell Hallmark cards," Isadora says. If your friend is into the holiday, don't be a stick in the mud.
2. Or — Do Mention It's Commercial
On the flip side, there are some singles who love V-Day because they delight in being free of any chocolate-buying duties while their friends in relationships run around buying a bunch of stuff. "There are lots of singles who like it [Valentine's Day] because they feel like it is pricey, and that there is too much pressure placed on this day," psychologist Nikki Martinez tells Bustle. They don't have to participate, and they revel in that fact. "We should support them and their feelings, and be sure they know we feel this is a great attitude for them to have. We should never pity them or assume they are sad because they are not dating on this holiday."
3. Don't Dole Out Unhelpful Advice
"Avoid telling people that it is better to be single, or that you can always just love yourself," Carlyle Jansen, author of Author, Sex Yourself: The Woman’s Guide to Mastering Masturbation and Achieving Powerful Orgasms, tells Bustle. That's just annoying — and if you're in a relationship, it'll come off sounding flimsy.
4. Don't Be Exclusive
"Do not, and I repeat, do not tell a happy single person, who is sending out loving vibrations all over the place, that Valentine's Day is for lovers only," relationship coach and psychic medium Cindi Sansone-Braff, author of Why Good People Can't Leave Bad Relationships, tells Bustle. "Valentine's Day is about love and the celebration of that sentiment. So do allow single people to spread the love wherever and however they see fit." Instead, encourage all of your friends to celebrate V-Day in whatever fashion they want — single or not.
5. Don't Be A Negative Nancy
"Don't mention that the divorce rate is 50 percent," says Isadora. Though more recent articles have been much more optimistic about the current divorce rate, there really is no need to tell your single friends off because they love V-Day.
Similarly, Isadora advises not to discuss how common cheating is in marriage. That just sounds bitter. Whatever the exact statistics on infidelity may be, there is exactly zero reason to bring up such unhelpful statistics to a friend who is not even in a relationship. If you don't love Valentine's Day and your unattached buddies do, change the subject.
6. Don't Question Their Enthusiasm
"With singles that are excited about V-Day, you wouldn't want to draw attention to the fact they don't have a partner," says Alex. So avoid saying things like, "Why are you so excited? You don't even have a partner." Not only is that terrible form, it's also grounds for a friend breakup, because it is catty as hell.
7. Don't Question Their Methods
Similarly, it's extremely unhelpful to "innocently" wonder aloud how your single pals could possibly enjoy a holiday that is traditionally all about romantic love. Don't say, "How can you enjoy Valentine’s Day when you don’t have a valentine?” Tina B. Tessina, aka Dr. Romance, psychotherapist and author of Love Styles: How to Celebrate Your Differences, tells Bustle. If your unattached friend is prancing around handing out valentines, give her a high-five, because that rules.
8. Don't Give Unsolicited Advice
"Don't tell them that their prince/ss charming will come soon, or that they should celebrate with other single friends," says Jansen. Your single friends can do V-Day however they damn well please. If they specifically ask for a pep talk, by all means — but if your single friend is getting a little more excited about Valentine's Day than you, bite your tongue if you feel tempted to poke a hole in their fun.
9. Don't Spin V-Day Into A 'Toxic, Heart-Shaped Mess'
"I don't feel anyone should tiptoe around enjoying Valentine's Day," psychotherapist and neuromarketing strategist Michele Paiva tells Bustle. "However, some people who are rude and boundary-crossing will take this holiday and spin it into a toxic, heart-shaped mess." As such, she says, avoid phrases that come off as insincere back-pats, such as, "Oh, maybe next year …" Instead, let your single friends celebrate the day solo, and don't allude to the idea that you think Valentine's Day is better spent with a partner.
10. Don't Ice Them Out
"Valentine's Day is only for couples": Avoid at all cost, says Alex. Even if you add, "Not us singles" to the end of that statement — in other words, even if you are single and implicate yourself — that is still bending over backwards to cultivate negativity. Instead, take a page from your cheery friends' playbook and give V-Day a chance — or at least keep your contrary views to yourself.
11. Don't Pretend To Be Positive When You're Really Negative
Avoid disseminating your world view thinly disguised as "helpful advice." Saying things like, "Don't worry, love isn't what it is cracked up to be" really doesn't help, says Paiva. These types of comments are "all just negativity, as if the negativity is manure," she says.
Avoid any impulse to spread such manure around, she says. "If someone goes up to you, and you are single, and they are saying something negative with a big smile on their face or, are acting like misery likes company, do yourself a favor — for Valentine's Day, give yourself the gift of self-love and drop that person from your life," or at least find some distance, she says. Truth.
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