How to love yourself and celebrate friendships this Valentine's Day


By Milla Alexander / Wednesday 12th February 2020


Illustration by Becker White

14th February: The day on which people around the world exchange gifts with their significant other to profess undying love.

Society, media and marketing say woe betide the singletons who are lonely, miserable and pitiful. Luckily, there are a steadily increasing number of people pushing back on this idea. So this year, if you’re single and you’ve not quite caught on, check out this list that will help you reinvent the meaning of Valentine’s Day. Make it a day to show yourself love and celebrate your friendships instead.

As adverts begin to pop up on your socials and storefronts begin to hang hearts and date reminders, it can be easy to feel a sense of dread rising in your chest at the thought of having no one in your life to give to or receive from. Don’t be overwhelmed by the apprehension of conforming to societal structures and put together a plan of how you’ll show yourself and your friends some appreciation:

Show yourself some love:

  • Reducing your social media consumption is productive at any time of the year, but having some time away from it during the lead up to Valentine's Day can only be positive. Stories of gift unboxing, proposal videos and pictures of PDA are inevitable, so use this time to focus on an activity you like to do in your spare time instead. Reading a book, doing some painting or going for a walk are all good ways to limit your screen time.
  • Are you working on Valentine's Day this year? Why not book the day off and plan a pamper session? Whether you decide to go to a spa or set yourself up with a hamper that you can use at home, you'll be left feeling truly relaxed.
  • If you are going to be working, consider sending yourself a bunch of flowers to arrive on the day. You don't have to hide the fact either - loving yourself is the best love anyone can find. Too weird? Treat yourself to a special lunch rather than going for your usual meal deal.

Show your friends some love:

  • Other single friends in your social group? Suggest an inclusive activity for all of you so you can be with the people you love. It's 'Galentines' after all! Whether you go out for dinner or decide a movie night indoors is more your cup of tea, you and your mates will have created a new tradition.

  • Send your close friends a card with a love letter inside, letting them know just how much they mean to you. You don't have to reserve your love for a significant other on Valentine's Day.

  • Dare to take indulgence to new heights (if you have the means) and book you and your pals a getaway. Whether you go for a short city break or a beach holiday, you can build on your friendships and create something to look forward too for years to come. If your funds don't quite stretch, consider a day trip to somewhere nearby you've always wanted to visit. Parks, nature reserves, art galleries, villages outside of towns etc. all have lots to offer.

  • Give back to those who may not be in a position to think about giving or receiving gifts on Valentine’s Day. Whether you’re able to donate money or time to a charity, you’ll be showing love to others who need it most. Or why not give a random act of kindness to a stranger? Share your love for all this year!

Whatever you decide to do this Valentine's Day, feel comfortable breaking societal stereotypes and creating new traditions you can do forever.

Art by

Becker White
Words by
Milla Alexander

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