Valentine’s Day sucks, but let’s keep it

As a person who wants a romantic relationship but can’t find one, Valentine’s Day kind of sucks. Jealousy and bitterness rise whenever I hear people talking about date plans and gift ideas, raising the dreaded question: Have you found a significant other yet?

Societal pressures to find romantic relationships are based on life’s “checkpoints: getting married by this age or having kids by that age, etc. Because of these presumptions, many are still under the impression that you need romance in your life to be happy. Valentine’s Day can be a trigger for people who are single and unhappy.

Seeing or hearing people talk about dating around Valentine’s Day while you are not romantically involved can cause some hurting. However, we shouldn’t write off the holiday completely.

Different societies and communities have progressed from a romance-oriented Valentine’s Day. For instance, in Finland and Estonia, they celebrate a Valentine’s Day alternative called Friends Day. “Known as YstävänPäivä in Finnish and Sõbrapäev in Estonian, Friend’s Day is celebrated by single people and couples alike. Families, friends and couples gather for shared meals and sporting activities like skating or sledding,” said Time magazine writer Melissa Godin in her article “Why Valentine’s Day in These European Countries Is All About Friendship.”

In the United States, where Valentine’s Day is most popular there is hope to take a platonic approach to the holiday. There is even an unofficial tradition set on Feb. 13 called Galentine’s Day, which is about hanging out with your friends. While it is disappointing to see that an entirely new holiday had to be created as a platonic alternative to offset Valentine’s Day, it is great to see the effort put into celebrating friends and family instead of celebrating just romance.

As time passes, the stigma of needing romance in your life, especially around holidays like Valentine’s Day, will be gone. Not receiving chocolates and flowers from a significant other will not bring shame to people soon.