Valentine’s Day Survival Guide

Valentine’s Day can be a great time to celebrate love; it can also be a hell of a catastrophe waiting in the wings. Here’s how to hack Valentine’s Day to make it a night you really want to remember – whether you have someone to spend it with or not.

This post was originally published on February 14, 2011.

We know that some of you think Valentine’s Day is lousy, commercialized, a load of bullshit, and that’s perfectly fine. While this guide is intended for Victory Day survival, it is not about following the traditional path. This also applies to your next big date and see how to deal with loneliness. We don’t dive into the topic of love too often here on Lifehacker, but today we are here to help you, no matter your romantic situation. Be sure to also check out our Stress-Free Valentine’s Guide .

I’ve had almost every Valentine’s experience you can imagine: I broke up, had my first date, got sick, visited places you wouldn’t talk about in polite company, and even had a great romantic evening. Valentine’s Day can be a lot of fun, but it is fraught with disaster. However, many potential disasters can be easily avoided simply by managing your expectations, preparing for challenges, and planning your day a little differently.

For couples

Valentine’s Day can be enjoyed by anyone with the right pretext, but it was designed for people in relationships. If you’re lucky enough to fall in love with this Valentine’s Day, here are some tips, tricks, and suggestions to keep you from screwing up.

Don’t expect romance after dinner

Traditional Valentine’s Day usually consists of an enjoyable romantic date … and then falling into a food coma as soon as you get home. There’s nothing wrong with eating really good, tasty, and greasy food on rare, special occasions, but when that meal makes you pass out before your evening is officially over, you might want to reconsider your plans. Sex advice columnist Dan Savage repeatedly recommends – even warns – couples to save food for last. If you are planning on eating a large and heavy meal at a romantic party, you should plan in advance for romance, sex, or whatever else you plan to do.

Try something different

You don’t have to buy gifts and go out to dinner on Valentine’s Day. You can do whatever you want. While you are probably aware of this, there are two things that can stop you: waiting for tradition and not having alternative ideas. However, if you talk to your significant other, you can choose a date that both of you enjoy, that is not related to what almost everyone else is doing. Here are some alternative ideas:

Be a bad valentine

One of the best dates I have ever had was buying a large packet of fries and breaking into a tall building to eat, talk and watch Boston from the sky. While this may or may not sound like what you want to do with your date, there is one thing you should consider: being prank. Being a little bad to yourself is not like being bad to others. You don’t want to do something really bad, but just do something that can get you caught and get in a little trouble if you do. Rushing through this experience together will make it more fun and memorable. This will help create a bond. If there ever was some kind of harmless, harmless trouble that you wanted to create but never did, Valentine’s Day could be a good opportunity.

Celebrate What You Love

Romance doesn’t have to come from gifts and food. It should be about expressing love and celebrating the love you have for someone. Sit down with your significant other and make a list of the things you both really enjoy together, then do it. These can be food and gifts, but try to think about activities you enjoy together and the reasons you love / care for each other. Find ways to celebrate these events instead of just going the traditional way.

Try something new

Your date should be about creating a positive, memorable experience that you can look back on lovingly, and trying things that neither of you have experienced before is often a good way to achieve this. Try not to do it with something that you have always wanted to do, but something that neither of you have thought about before, and for which you have no particular attachment. The idea is for both of you to experience something new together and bond with how much you love or hate it. If it’s really new, and you really don’t have any preconceptions about what you’re going to try, the night won’t be ruined if you find either of you like it or not. Even if you both hate it, you will have something to talk about later. Be a little weird, pick something you never thought of and do it together.


If you’re looking to throw a trendy romantic dinner on Valentine’s Day, you might want to consider throwing it on a day that isn’t quite Valentine’s Day. It’s hard to find seats in a restaurant if you don’t plan ahead, and with such high traffic, you’re more likely to lose your reservation altogether. If you are in the mood for a particular restaurant, it will be much easier for you to reschedule Valentine’s Day a few days earlier or later. The day has no personal meaning to you (like your birthday), so try not to dwell on it. Of course, many have a traditional dinner and a good evening despite the occasional hassle, but if you want to avoid the eventual mess, just move the time to another day.

Prepare for disaster

Sometimes there is nothing you can do to prevent a disaster, so you need to prepare for it. Often, being able to quickly fix a problem can lead to unexpectedly better results. You may even feel glad that something went wrong, because in the end everything went better. Here are some suggestions:

  • Make a contingency plan. If you have a very specific evening scheduled, think about how it could go wrong and what you can do about it. If you have a backup plan for when / if your main plan fails, you can continue the night without any hassle. This could mean extra reservations, choosing a back-up restaurant where you know you won’t have to wait, think of two emotional activities or places in case one doesn’t work, and even planning an alternative evening at home if you are. want to walk somewhere. would just be a huge disaster in and of itself.
  • Use your smartphone – although you probably won’t want to take your smartphone out if you don’t have to, it can give you easy access to information on entertainment, restaurants, and other activities near you if something goes wrong. Create a Valentine’s Day emergency apps page or folder so you can take action in times of disaster.
  • Expect delays and unforeseen problems – if you are going somewhere you need to leave early. How early? This is something you can plan by checking your local traffic on Google Maps and looking for recommendations on your local transportation department website. You can also check local event sites (or even local pages on Yelp and City Search) to see what’s happening near where you will be so you can find a place to park your car (if you’re driving). Figure out what might go wrong and take enough time to get over it. You probably won’t be able to avoid the inevitable movement of vehicles and people, but you can at least understand how much it will affect your night.

For singles

If you’re single, Valentine’s Day can be especially frustrating. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t have a good time. Here are some tips on how to spend time alone and with other single friends so you can avoid loneliness and don’t miss out on the party.

Make it your day

We talked about how many little things make you happier than a few big ones , and you have no better day than Valentine’s Day to put that into practice. If you are lonely this Valentine’s Day, do whatever you like. Plan a night where you can do whatever you like and not demand from other people. Grab your favorite meals, enjoy your favorite books, TV shows, movies and games, do what you always wanted to do, and just do what you want. Being alone is not a bad thing, and it can be good if you learn to accept it. You just need to think about what you enjoy doing and learn to be happy when you’re alone. Just because you’re not with someone on Valentine’s Day doesn’t mean the holiday has to be awful and sad. For some years you will be with someone, and for some years you will not. This is how it works, and each of these years can be fun if you will.

Be someone else’s entertainment

If you can’t go out and have fun on your own, just be fun for someone else. One day, despite a date, I performed at a Valentine’s Day concert. Unfortunately for my date, this was the highlight of the evening. What you do is not as important as the joy you get from it. Find out what you love to do, and then do it somewhere that will appreciate you. For most, Valentine’s Day means being appreciated. When you get this feeling from a group of people, it’s pretty cool. If you think you don’t have the talent you need to speak to any audience, formally or otherwise, you can always take part in a free hug campaign , volunteer for a bit, or do something for others in a different, more traditional way. …

Organize a group excursion on Victory Day

Some people have a tradition of spending Valentine’s Day with other single friends. It’s a great way to go out and have a good time, but not for everyone. If you have friends, or at least some acquaintances, you’re out of luck if there is no platonic date available for you. Even if it’s a bit of the last minute, invite as many people as you can out on Valentine’s Day for singles. Don’t just invite friends you know and love well, but invite people you still need to meet. In the worst case, they will think it’s stupid and decide not to come. On the other hand, you can make a few single people very happy with something to do. This is a good opportunity to make new friends from the acquaintances, and you may even meet your date on Valentine’s Day 2012.

For everybody

You don’t want to forget about your family and friends, whether or not you are in a relationship. Connect with loved ones to say hello. Let them know that you care. You don’t have to do this under the pretext of Valentine’s Day, but it’s a good reason to remind people that they are important to you. You never know when someone will need this reminder, but bad times are rare.

Especially for single valentines

For those of you who are convinced Valentine’s Day is going to suck, we asked you to send in your situation so we can write a message for you. It’s done! See here .


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