Q: Dear Elle, 

Any advice on getting through Valentine’s Day without a significant other? I’m feeling particularly lonely this year…

Sincerely, a Forlorn Friend 

A: Dearest Forlorn Friend, 

Well, this is a perfectly timed question! One I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. Let’s start out with the obvious– couples are simply insufferable to be around during the Valentine’s season. There seems to be this overwhelming desire for them to shove their “perfect” relationship down everyone’s throats, like a sort of unspoken competition for who has the hottest partner, the most expensive flowers, and the sparkliest custom ruby engagement rings. Now, I’m admittedly engaging in couple slander as an individual who has celebrated Valentine’s Day while in a relationship, but I’ve also celebrated while single! And perhaps that makes me more qualified to assure you that anyone who is aggressively publicizing their Valentine’s experience is doing so with the objective of making singles feel utterly shitty. Those who immediately go to snap an Instagram picture after receiving grocery-store flowers are undoubtedly hoping to gain some reassurance (via likes and comments) that their mediocre relationship is better than the doom of singlehood.

Now, my Forlorn Friend, I can promise you that a good majority of your loneliness during this season is produced by the carefully curated and shared humble brags of your friends in relationships. But all of the romance bullshit is most often (especially in college) completely inauthentic: most people actually received a box of CVS clearance chocolates purchased at exactly 7:37pm, before an 8pm dinner at Olive Garden–the only place that you didn’t need reservations for. 

I can promise you, my friend, that one day, you will find a partner that loves and respects you enough that you won’t need to post a grainy Instagram story to prove it to the world. And in my opinion, that kind of love is worth waiting for. So, just for February 14th, I’ll give you a pass to tell all of your love-obsessed friends to kindly fuck off. 

Now, in terms of more direct advice, because loathing others’ happiness won’t fill the void, make this V-Day all about you, babe. Rejoice in the fact that you aren’t wasting your time by asking someone for the bare minimum. Spoil yourself! I personally recommend that your Valentine’s Day survival mechanisms include high-quality chocolate and a little masturbation. The name of the game is distraction, and don’t feel bad about just needing to get through the day. Fall asleep watching a Hallmark or Lifetime rom-com of your choice (which is just soapy enough to pique your interest), and fall asleep peacefully knowing that tomorrow there will be some break-ups.