February 13, 2022
We’ve reached that time of year when chocolate sales skyrocket, Valentine’s Day. And with February 14th coming, the pressure to be in a relationship can feel stronger.
For those of us who are single, Valentine’s Day can lead to some loneliness or anxiety. I wanted to hear how teens, often surrounded by peers and social media, feel about this.
Turns out, lots of teens have opinions on the holiday. “I do feel pressure to be in a relationship at times,” says Kendal, 15, of Barrington, RI. “Society has made it so it’s less acceptable to use the holiday solely to celebrate the other (platonic, familial, etc.) types of love in your life, which makes it feel like I can’t participate in the holiday without a relationship.”
Valentine’s Day can also confuse things when it comes to romance. “There’s this girl I kinda like,” says Joe, 17, of Raleigh, NC. “I’ve been toying with the idea of asking her out for a couple of months but I’ve been putting it off because I don’t want her to think (assuming I do work up the courage to ask) that it’s just because I want to be with someone for Valentine’s rather than because I genuinely like her.” Even if you’re single and wanting to connect with someone, Valentine’s Day can add pressure.
“I wish people didn’t feel pressured!” says Sam, 19, of Montclair, NJ. “Love isn’t just about romantic love. Plus, holidays shouldn’t indicate how you treat yourself.” Adds Kendal, “No one should have to feel pressure to be in a relationship just to be worthy.”
There are, of course, several ways to deal with any Valentine’s Day-related stress. “Hang out with friends on Valentine’s Day or turn it into a self-love day,” recommends Julian, 18, of Philadelphia. Siena, 15, of Chesterfield, MI, follows a similar approach, saying, “I surround myself with people who make me feel good! Having a steady support system fills all those holes you assume you need a relationship to mend.” Being around people that you love or just treating Valentine’s Day like any other day could ease tension and help lighten your mood if you’re feeling down.
Something we may also lose sight of: being single has a lot of benefits! “I think it’s valuable for me as a teenager not to be in a relationship,” says Kendal. “It allows me to figure out what I want and who I am on my own, making me a better partner in the future.” Being single allows you the opportunity to learn more about yourself and take time to figure out the things you want in your life. You may have more independence and don’t need to worry about a commitment to someone when you barely have time for yourself.
Sam is single for the first time in a while and looking forward to the festivities: “Currently, I love myself so much I’m excited to spend Valentine’s Day with me! I’m going to do something so romantic.”
But wait—there’s more good news! If you want to celebrate the joys of being single, there’s actually a dedicated day for this. So mark the date: February 15th (yup, the day right after Valentine’s Day) is Singles Awareness Day.
After all, it’s only fair that if the couples get a day, singles should too!