Feeling low this February 14th? You could spend the day hatin’ on all the datin’ celebratin’ – or you could turn the bitter into something better.
Here’s match.com’s relationship expert Kate Taylor’s essential guide to approaching Valentine’s Day if you’re single.
BITTER: Go out to dinner alone and glare at all the happy couples
BETTER: Hold a fun supper for your friends and their friends.
Call your favourite single friends and invite them round to dinner, telling them to bring a member of the opposite sex in whom they’re not romantically interested – a relative, or a work-mate for example. Cook a big, easy meal that doesn’t need much last-minute attention and enjoy an evening of meeting new people.
BITTER: Ring up your exes, or search for them online
BETTER: Draw up your relationship CV.
When you’re single, it’s healthy to think about people you’ve dated before and what you’ve learnt from those experiences. What’s unhealthy is to get upset and text them messages like, “I don’t know why it ended like it did.” Instead, create your relationship CV – a list of everyone you’ve dated, and the strengths and weaknesses of those relationships. Take time over it, and make it thorough. Why? With this in-depth look at your past loves, you’ll have a better idea of what you want in your next relationship, making it *much* easier to find. Once you’ve isolated the traits you cherish most in a partner, why not create an online-dating profile and search for someone who fits the bill? It’s healthier than Google-stalking that person who’s surname you can’t quite remember who kissed you once at infant school.
BITTER: Say “Goodbye to Love”, like The Carpenters
BETTER: Say “Hello”, like Lionel Richie.
Online dating, sporting clubs, exercise groups, evening classes, social meet-ups, wine-tasting, quiz teams… There are innumerable ways to bring new people into your world, but if you resign yourself to singledom, you probably won’t bother. You’ll focus on the friends you already have and keep your world quite small. Don’t. Recent research showed that maintaining a lively social life is THE number-one habit shared by happy people. So get out there. Find sociable ways of enjoying the hobbies you already have: if you love to read, join a book club; if you’re fitness-mad, look for a running group, if you love taking photos find a photography course that can help you do it even better. You might not meet your ideal partner there, but you’re sure to meet like-minded people who you can learn from. And when you’re feeling confident and ready to find love; all that socialising will have given you great practice in talking to new people, which will make dating far less nerve-wracking in the future.
BITTER: Stay in reading endless self-help books
BETTER: Get out and have fun
Don’t dwell on romantic mistakes. Relax! Go out and make yourself smile. The first step towards finding love is loving yourself as you are right now, so accept that you’re human and occasionally mess up. Don’t mope over a book — hit the gym, take a walk or see a film. Make it your mission to do one thing that makes you happy every day – and if you don’t have a partner, take yourself out on dates instead. It will make you a far more interesting and intriguing person than if you constantly stay in watching re-runs of Friends you’ve seen hundreds of times before.
BITTER: Sending cards to people you know aren’t attainable
BETTER: Giving your love to those who deserve it.
Sometimes, the hardest part about being single is feeling that you have so much to give, but nobody to give it to. Well, you do. Your family, friends, workmates and even your local community need you! When was the last time you invited your parents or grandparents over for lunch? Or stayed late to help a colleague at work? Volunteered at a local soup kitchen, collected for charity, or helped an elderly neighbour with a few small jobs? Selfless acts of kindness like this do much to boost your mood and self-esteem – allowing you to put your best foot forward into the future and into a successful relationship with someone who’ll love you for all that you are.