Valentine’s Day can be tough for the unattached. One day you’re fine with being single, and the next, it seems the world has turned into Noah’s Ark; everyone is coupled up. A day dedicated to love and romance highlights one’s relationship status, which might make some singles feel insecure.
But we spoke to some of New Jersey’s best dating coaches and, as it turns out, being single on Valentine’s Day can be fun. It’s all a matter of perspective.
First, it’s important to remember that February 14 is nothing more than a Hallmark holiday. “I tell my clients not to worry about Valentine’s Day,” said Julianne Cantarella, dating coach and owner of New Jersey’s Matchmaker in northern New Jersey. “It becomes a focal point for people, and I don’t think it should be.” If you’re wondering what else there is to focus on, we have a few suggestions.
Gather your Tribe
Focusing on your friends is the best way to go. “Your friends are the people who have been there for you, get you, and make you a priority in their life,” Cantarella said. So why not take your cue from Parks & Recreation’s Leslie Knope, and celebrate ‘Galentine’s Day?’ Get your squad together and go out to dinner, or make dinner together / do a potluck at someone’s place.
Alternatively, you can plan a wine tasting along the Cape May Wine Trail. The Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts and Humanities offers a winery tour on Saturday, February 17, that includes lunch, wine tasting, and a ride on the Cape May trolley.
Do Unto Others
How about raising money for charity and having fun at the same time? Doing for others takes the focus off of you. As Mike Goldstein, founder and dating coach at E-Z Dating Coach in Hoboken, puts it, “Instead of thinking, ‘Woe is me, I didn’t find my person,’ you can say, ‘Wow! Look at what I did to help this worthy cause!’”
Cantarella also agreed with this sentiment. She encourages singles to try “Focusing on others who have a greater need, whether through volunteering or doing small thoughtful gestures for them, making them a meal or taking them to a movie… Something that gets the focus off of the day, and focuses on something a little more positive.”
As a matter of fact, some great Valentine’s-themed fundraisers are right around the corner. On Saturday, February 10, Community Options is holding its annual Cupid’s Chase 5K Run. Community Options is a nationwide organization that raises money for housing and employment support for those living with disabilities. Although runs are taking place all over the country, eight are scheduled in locations throughout New Jersey, and several are being held in the Philadelphia area and New York City.
The more flirtatious may opt for Cupid’s Charity’s Undie Run, a party and fun run where participants wear just their…underwear. Cupid’s Charity supports neurofibromatosis (NF) research, and according to the organization’s web site, all net proceeds go to science. Undie Runs take place nationwide throughout February, and the runs in Philadelphia and New York City take place on February 10. Don’t forget to hashtag your photos from the day with #EndNF!
For those who prefer swimming to running, the annual Valentine Plunge on Main Beach in Manasquan may be for you. The Valentine Plunge is similar to a Polar Bear Plunge, and raises money for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease) research. This year’s plunge takes place on Saturday, February 3. FYI, Leggett’s Sand Bar & Restaurant will host a pre-Plunge party on Friday night, February 2, and a post-Plunge party with lunch and drink specials on Saturday afternoon.
Supporting a great cause isn’t the only reason to take part in an event around Valentine’s Day, said Goldstein. It also provides a great opportunity, for those so inclined; if you see someone you want to talk to, go talk to them. If you’re too shy to go up and talk to people, you can also wave for them to come over.
“What is cool about the wave is that it guarantees there will be some sort of reaction,” Goldstein said. A lot of times, even if a man might be interested, he is too intimidated to come over. He’s afraid of rejection, and doesn’t know what to say. But with the wave, he knows he should come over, and you can start chatting. And the guy still gets credit for the introduction, because he comes over and says hello first.
The most important thing you can do is focus on the positive people and things in your life. Doing so will ensure that February 14 becomes a fun-filled day, regardless of relationship status!