Being single has its advantages, like more freedom, extra me-time, and less relationship stress. But on Valentine’s Day, it’s easy to forget that being single is totally okay, especially when the restaurants are all booked up by couples and the shops are overflowing with romantic gifts.

Though there might be social and cultural pressure to spend Valentine’s Day with a partner, there are plenty of other ways to feel the love, even when single. Here are the perks of flying solo on Valentine’s Day and how to embrace them to the fullest.

Explore Self-Love

Valentine’s Day is the holiday of love, and that extends to single people too. And while love shared between partners can be sweet, self-love is at the heart of every healthy relationship. Give yourself some affection this Valentine’s Day by speaking your love language to yourself. In other words, give yourself the type of love that feels most comforting to you. Are you longing for someone to send you a surprise bouquet? Treat yourself to your favorite flowers instead. Are you into words of affirmation? Write yourself a Valentine’s love letter.

If you’re multilingual when it comes to love languages, challenge yourself to fit in multiple types before the day is over, from quality time to physical touch. You might start wishing you were your own valentine every year.

Get to Know Yourself

When dating or in a relationship, people sometimes focus so much attention on their partner’s strengths that they overlook their own. If you’ve lost touch with the amazing qualities that make you you, take advantage of your singlehood this Valentine’s Day by getting to know yourself again.

Start by taking a personality test (there are several to choose from online) to learn more about your inner self. Or shoot a text to a few trusted friends and ask what they consider to be your top three traits — chances are, they’ll have a hard time narrowing them down.

Another way to learn more about yourself is to imagine the kinds of questions you might ask on a date, such as, “What are your dreams for the future?” or, “What brings you the most joy in your free time?” Then, ask yourself those questions. It’s okay if you don’t have all the answers before the day is over. All that matters is that you spend time discovering hidden parts of yourself. After all, the longest relationship you’ll have in your life is with yourself.

Focus on Friendships

Valentine’s Day is all about celebrating the special people in your life, so why not focus on your cherished friends? Connect people in your circle for a Valentine’s party or gather a few of your single friends for a night on the town.

If you’d rather have a more low-key day, you can still socialize from the comfort of your home. Message or call a few friends to let them know you’re thinking of them. Consider reaching out to your best friend to tell them how grateful you are to have them around. Then, message an old friend you’ve lost touch with. Finally, strike up a conversation with an acquaintance you’d love to get to know better.

These small acts of connection can strengthen both old and new friendships, which you may not think to do if you spent Valentine's Day focused solely on your love life.

Find New Social Spaces

To spread love beyond your current friend group, build a community by seeking out new social spaces. Join a gym, participate in a volunteer group, or take a language class to make friends where you live. Alternatively, jump into a virtual space like Jaumo to chat with others whenever, wherever. Choose from live voice chat rooms, singles chats, and one-on-one messaging.

By socializing in new ways, you’ll find that fun and connection aren’t just reserved for couples on Valentine’s Day. But if you are still hoping to find your romantic match, putting yourself out there in fresh spaces can be a great way to start mixing and mingling with other like-minded singles.

Get Clear on Your Relationship Needs

What does #goals look like to you when it comes to relationships? Are you looking for a deep emotional connection? Is a casual, low-maintenance fling more up your alley? Or maybe you’re into polyamory and prefer having multiple lovers. If you haven’t thought over what you value most in a relationship, there’s no better opportunity than Valentine’s Day.

As you take some time for yourself this holiday, think back to your past relationships (dead-end dates and situationships can count too!). Your most recent one is a great starting point. Think about what may have been missing from the relationship and what you can learn from it going forward. You’ll likely discover your core needs while reflecting.

Also, think about the other goals and priorities you value right now and ask yourself, “What kind of relationship would support me most in accomplishing these dreams?” If you’re swamped with projects, a serious relationship could be a distraction. On the other hand, the right person might understand your needs and give you space to juggle your many passions.

Contemplate what kind of relationship and romantic partner would add to, not subtract from, your potential. That way, you’ll be able to more easily spot your future valentine, without getting sidetracked by other not-so-great matches.

Be Your Own Valentine

Valentine’s Day may traditionally be celebrated by couples, but no rule says singles must be left out. In fact, taking time to care for yourself on this holiday is one of the most loving gestures you can make. Not only that, it might pay off when you do find yourself starting a new romantic relationship in the future. So go ahead and dress up for a platonic Valentine’s Day date with friends or polish off an entire box of chocolates alone — we won’t judge.

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