For some reason, you people turn this holiday into this demonic, soul draining ritual. I know we’re not five years old anymore and the days of cards sealed by little heart stickers are over. But the way most people talk about it, you’d think that Valentine’s Day is a day reserved for sucking the joy out of puppies.
So, some rules. I’m even giving you a few days’ notice so you can take notes before this weekend.
tl;dr version: Don’t be a jerk. Easy.
1. Don’t be a jerk (it needed to be said twice)
Seriously, it’s not that hard. Some people really like Valentine’s Day; some don’t. Whatever your opinion, don’t go shoving it down people’s throats.
2. Team Single: Don’t whine
I know, I know. It sucks. It truly does suck to be around the hearts and the flowers and the lovey-dovey stuff if you’re flying solo. Especially if you’re not exactly in a stable place in your life. It’s as if the rest of the world is content on reading you of your failure… but it’s not. I promise, Valentine’s Day is not an event concocted to make you feel bad about yourself. Please don’t ruin everyone else’s day with your whining. Count your blessings and go make stupid decisions, something you can’t do once you’re with someone.
3. Couples: Don’t be obnoxious
On the other side of the coin, you lovebirds out there have to be… well, courteous. PDA? Not a good idea. Renting out a giant megaphone and screaming for all the world to hear? Also not good. Spending some quality time with your person in a way that’s special and memorable to the two of you? Bingo.
4. It’s not a competition
When my neighbor told me the gift he got for his girlfriend, I laughed. A lot. “You’ll be single by Sunday,” I said. I’m not sure if he’s amended the idea since then, but I got to thinking about it and I realized that I was the one in the wrong. Holding this giant expectation about what Valentine’s Day should be—dinner, chocolate, teddy bears, fireworks—is turning this day about love into a chore. Do something fun, show that you care, but stop pressuring your partner to be perfect.
5. This is not a one-way street
Ladies, you’re supposed to do something for your man on Saturday. It’s not just his job, though we’ve somehow made it out to be. And no, your part of the deal does not have to be sexual. For Pete’s sake, get him a present. Get him his favorite candy. Do a chore that he hates doing. . If you really want to re-enact 50 Shades of Grey, I suppose can’t stop you, but something from the heart will mean even more.
6. Gentlemen, it’s show time
I don’t think you guys understand how many points you can score in one night, if you play your cards right. If you a) put forth effort, b) don’t turn it into a gross sexual thing, and c) actually express one iota of emotion, your efforts will be remembered for a long, long time. Don’t screw this one up. Dress up, make her swoon (is that still a thing?), do the romantic thing for a day even if you can’t stand it–because she’ll notice. You’ll be grateful later.
7. This is not the time for arguments about sexual orientation
Is a discussion worth having? Yes. But not on a holiday. Love who you want to love and let others do the same.
8. Friends are people too
Anyone familiar with Parks and Rec knows about Galentine’s Day—Leslie Knope’s day for “celebrating lady friends”. A bunch of female friends go to lunch, give each other presents, and generally have a good time. Do that. Love isn’t just a romantic thing, it’s a platonic thing. Friends. Neighbors. Family members. They love you too.
9. Treat Yo’ Self
Another Parks and Rec thing. You can’t love anyone else until you love yourself, right? Single, taken or anywhere in between, go ahead and buy that 96 pack of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups all for yourself. I won’t tell on you.
10. This is a HOLIDAY about LOVE
What has been the happiest moment of your life? Did you care about the people who were around to witness it? Do you want other people to think kindly of you—and do you think kindly of other people? Do you remember the way you felt when you first realized you like-liked someone else? Isn’t love, at the end of it all, the happiest emotion we know? Nod your head yes. Stop making it this apocalyptic event and instead make it a reflection of love.