Those without a sweetheart this Valentine's Day need not drown their sorrows in heart-shaped boxes of chocolate. K-State relationship expert Tony Jurich says instead, singles should make light of the traditionally couples holiday.
"When you're surrounded by couples you might start to think that something's wrong with you," Jurich said. "It not only makes you acutely aware that they have something you don't, but it makes it seem like the 'normal' people are together."
When you are single on a holiday -- particularly on Valentine's Day -- you don't do yourself any favors by spending it alone, Jurich said. Instead of ruminating in self-pity, singles should celebrate their status with just as much enthusiasm as couples.
"If you are single, you probably know other singles. Go out make it a night of it," he said. "When you make a restaurant reservation, they'll assume that you want a table for two, and you can say 'no, a table for 12.'"
If you're more the type to throw a get-together at your home, Jurich suggests an "Un-Valentine's" Party -- a la the Mad Hatter's un-birthday parties in the Disney movie "Alice in Wonderland." Then plan activities, foods and decorations with a nontraditional twist.
"Make fun of the assumption that people need to be coupled," he said. "Make light of it, kind of get even a little bit with the assumptions. Celebrate your singleness together."
At the very least, Jurich said those who are single should plan a distraction like going to a movie -- though he warns against a romance. He also said that Valentine's Day is a horrible time for a first date or blind date because the expectations are too high.
Jurich also has advice for the recently single or those who are prone to think about old flames on Valentine's Day.
"There is nothing wrong with being nostalgic and visiting, just don't set up a tent there," he said. "Find a good friend to commiserate with, preferably somebody who is happy being single or who had a miserable relationship with someone and is glad they are gone."
Then spend the evening naming one advantage for every disadvantage there is to being single on Valentine's Day, he said.
"If you can laugh at Valentine's Day and laugh at the 'misery' of being single, you will give yourself distance -- and distance will help you stay out of the self pity thing," Jurich said.