Valentine’s Day is typically a time for celebrating romance. Unfortunately, without a partner, you feel a little left-out. How about redefining the day? Give a valentine to the world and make it a little better! Here are some ideas:
Give a valentine every month
Set aside a certain amount each month to give back. If there’s a massive fire and animals are misplaced, donate some much-needed funds. If you read about an organization in need, make a donation. It’s better than retail therapy! It’s philan-therapy!
Give a valentine to seniors
In my community there is a special Valentine’s Day party for seniors. Is there one in your area? Go volunteer and bring some homemade valentines. You’ll be the bell of the ball!
Give a valentine everyday
Be extra kind to people around you and use good manners. Good manners seem to be in short supply right now so your use of them will be especially noticeable. There’s an old saying about how well-behaved women don’t change the world. With women’s history, this has certainly rung true but right now, with all the poor behavior, I think the opposite might work better. Make the world better and do it with good manners.
Give a valentine in random acts of kindness
Do anonymous acts of kindness. Pay someone’s parking meter, return a lost animal, pick up trash, etc. We draw from the universe what we give to it. (I used to think this was a bunch of mumbo jumbo, but I’m finding it’s true.) Be the generosity and compassion you want to see in the world.
Give a valentine to the earth
Consider grooming trails for the Sierra Club, joining a beach clean-up or taking the extra effort to thoughtfully recycle. Carpooling, using public transportation and not wasting food shrink one’s carbon footprint. Not consuming resources is an excellent way to give back to our sweet Mother Earth.
Give a valentine to the American Heart Association
Check out the American Heart Association website. Donate money or your time in honor of your fierce, strong and steadfast heart.
Give valentine cards
When’s the last time you got a valentine card? Send valentines this year! (Have them printed at a local print shop.)
Give a valentine to a kid
Libraries often have tutoring programs after school. How about giving an hour to tutor? You might bring some valentines with little treats. (Please avoid candy. Having been a teacher, I know for a fact kids do not need more candy.)
Give a valentine to your community
Learn about a local museum or landmark and become a docent showing off the attributes of your area.
Give a valentine to your friends
Check out Spinster’s Guide® to 9 Ways for Celebrating Galentine’s Day with Your Friends or The Spinster’s Guide™ to your Pop Up Single Gal Party! for the perfect Galentine’s Day or Valentine’s Day with your friends.
Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” Valentine’s Day does not have to be about romance and that special man. (Although, if you’ve got that…cool for you!) Celebrate love and Valentine’s Day in a different way and make the world a little better.
And know, dear reader, I consider you my valentine.
For this post on mingling hacks, I called in the experts. I have witnessed all three of them at parties and they truly own the room! These master minglers are: Jocelyn Blore, author of Blore’s Razor, Jonathan Miller, author of All Starships Go to HEAVEn, and Patti Rabun, teacher extraordinaire in Laguna Beach, California. I actually test drove their strategies at a party last weekend and came away with some great travel suggestions, a new vegetarian app (Tasty), a website for buying event tickets (Gold Star), some new friends and learned parties really can be fun! I hope these mingling tools enhance your party-going experience as well:
1. When you meet someone, use a mnemonic device to remember their name. Example: Her name is Betty and she has bangs. Think Betty Bangs for recall. It surprises people when you later greet them personally and they automatically like you because you took the extra time and effort to remember them.
2. At the food table, comment to a fellow party-goer about the cuisine. If there is something especially good, offer it to another guest raving: “You’ve got to try this!” It will start a conversation about the dish, and you can go from there.
3. Focus on one person at a time. You can use opener questions regarding how they know the host or an honest compliment about a clothes item or something else intriguing. Move the conversation toward topics of interest. I love talking about travel, books, trails, adventures, fighting fears and making the world better. Hearing them talk passionately about a subject can lead you to new passions!
4. Wear a message t-shirt. It creates an easy opener for other guests to connect with you. (I would avoid overly political t-shirts.) The Mingling Cat design in the Spinster's Guide® Boutique is the perfect choice for introverts and cat lovers alike!
5. Have some good anecdotes for opportune moments. Everyone loves a well-crafted interesting story! Funny and light work best and be sure to keep your tale short in larger groups.
6. Remember, everyone feels a little out-of-place so don’t be offended by anything others say. In their own awkward way, they probably just want to be liked.
7. When a conversation has run its course, excuse yourself to get something to eat or refill your drink.
8. Most importantly, it is okay to be by yourself and just watch others have fun. Soak in the richness of human connection!
Hopefully, these ideas will assist you in enjoying your next party! Please let me and my experts know how they work in the comments below. Or, if you have any other ideas, please share. We all want to have a good time!
Almost a decade ago, Leslie Knope, a character on Parks and Recreation played by Amy Poelher, announced she was celebrating a fictional holiday called Galentine’s Day. It is on the day before Valentine’s Day or February 13th, and a time for “ladies to celebrate ladies.” Since that episode, Galentine’s Day has exploded and women all over are partying with their friends. Here are some ideas to get you own Galentine’s Day or Valentine’s Day (without a date) party going:
Make it a potluck so no one person is doing all the heavy lifting. Have friends bring appetizers and name their dishes after inspirational women like: Ellen eggrolls or Michelle Obama mint cookies.
Gather red and white construction paper, pens, scissors and other card crafting paraphernalia (look in the craft section of your dollar store) and create beautiful homemade Valentine cards. Write personal notes and deliver them to a rest home or send to service members.
Make it a movie night! Choose a romantic movie like Casablanca, Crazy Rich Asians or The Princess Bride. Go the opposite direction and choose Gaslight (the word gaslighting actually came from this movie) or Fatal Attraction. If you want everyone teary, choose A Patch of Blue (you will fall in love with Sidney Poitier all over again but please know this movie can be very disturbing and will bring a lot of discussion) or West Side Story. Or go with an interesting Australian offering like Muriel’s Wedding or Strictly Ballroom. On the other hand, make it all about the girls and show Thelma and Louise or The Women. (Make sure you get the 1939 version!) Add to the fun and let your guests vote!
The Spinster’s Guide® to Your Popup Single Gal Party
Make it a spinster theme party! The Spinster’s Guide® to Your Popup Single Gal Party downloadable is packed with party plans, games, invitations, party hats and decorations, all with the inimitable Spinster's Guide® design, for easily creating the perfect insta-party!
Do something none of you has done before. Scale walls at a climbing gym, hike a new trail in your area, zipline across a canyon, or take a train somewhere interesting. Use your imagination!
Pull together recipes, food, utensils, pots, pans and set up stations around the kitchen where guest groups prepare different parts of a meal. Create salad, main dish, side dish and dessert areas. Be sure to have plenty of wine! (A friend did this years ago and we all still talk about what fun we had!)
Have everyone bring a white elephant gift with a Valentine’s Day theme. (You might be surprised at what pops up!) Each guest gets a number. Number one picks a gift and opens it. Number two can “steal” number one’s gift or choose a new one and so forth. Decide on 2 steals before the game starts.
Make it a game night! You can play Hearts or Old Maid, if you want thematic games. Or you can go with the more traditional Apples to Apples, Scattergories, Pictionary, or Trivial Pursuit. Spice it up and play Cards Against Humanity! (Consider your friends before making this decision!) You may need to adjust games according to the number of party-goers. For larger groups, set up game stations and rotate guests. Add to the fun and get cheesy prizes from the dollar store.
Hire an expert and take a dance lesson with your guests! Or play dance videos and learn the Macarena or some line dance moves. Have a dance contest to Dancing Queen, Funkytown, Flashdance, Crazy in Love, Smooth or Livin' La Vida Loca! Inspire party-goers with Bruno Mars’ Uptown Funk choreographed to movies from the 30s, 40s, and 50s. Even your most hesitant friend will have to move to these songs!
Mix and match ideas to make the perfect party. Whatever you decide, Happy Galentine’s Day! “It’s only the best day of the year!” (Thanks Leslie Knope!)
P.S. Check out the Valentine’s Day/ Galentine’s Day t-shirt using this blog design!
One of the biggest challenges of being single is loneliness. But it does not just hit people without partners, it is everywhere. In researching this topic, I found articles in the Harvard Business Review, Washington Post, The Guardian and on NPR. Even the former U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy is concerned and states there is a “loneliness epidemic.” So, if you are feeling lonely, you are definitely not alone. There are a whole lot of others who feel just like you do. Here are some ideas for finding your people, and perhaps learning something new, getting some exercise or making a difference in the world:
Churches, temples, synagogues, mosques, or other places of spirituality
Depending on your beliefs, this might be an excellent option for finding friends and gaining some spirituality along the way. I have noticed many of the larger organizations have small, more personalized groups and having gone to some of them, found people to be very kind. I think the best way to do this is: google potential places of spirituality, make a list of the ones you like, prioritize and try a new one every week or two. Not only will you meet some great people, you will also learn a lot and have a new appreciation of the world.
Meetup is an online site connecting people of similar interests. One can find groups for learning a language, traveling the world, dancing the tango, hiking Mt. Whitney, reading Kafka, investing in ETFs, creating apps, cooking Thai food etc. etc. etc. Years ago, I attended a hiking meetup and met a lot of fun people. We are all friends to this day!
Traveling abroad, I have found visitors in hostels to be especially nice. When I was in Edinburgh, Scotland eating breakfast, hostel guests sat down and joined me. There was a really sense of community and it was fun hearing about others’ adventures. My big concern was the partying 20-year olds but I was pleasantly surprised to find every demographic represented and visitors open to meeting others. I’m planning on doing some more research in the spring. (It was not all perfect. A friend and I went to another hostel with the word “backpacker” in its name and encountered urine on the stairs, holes in the ceiling leading to creepy places and a very disturbing shower.) I figure I will look at hostels on Hostelworld, research accommodations to avoid Euro-party spots/ disturbing backpacker crash pads and reserve a single. (At this point, I need my own room.) If you’re interested, look for my article in March or April!
Paraphrasing Oprah or some other sage of modern living: If you feel sad and alone, go help someone. It takes the focus off gloomy you and makes the world a better place. There is so much opportunity! Assist with a community fun run, socialize cats at an animal shelter, tutor someone who needs an adult in his/her corner, deliver Meals on Wheels, sign up to work with the Red Cross, cradle babies at the hospital, or take the CERT training and become an expert in community emergency preparedness. Not only will you be making the world better, you will meet other people who are doing the same thing!
Attend local city council meetings. Do you see a need in your community? Talk to city officials about starting a committee. Nothing unifies people like a cause. You’ll meet people and affect positive change in your community at the same time!
I have a friend who just took a singles cruise along the Dalmatian Coast and had a wonderful time. On these specialized cruises everyone is open to meeting others and tour operators are very mindful of bringing people together. I have never sailed the single seas but am looking into it. If you go first, please report back!
Check out the Sierra Club website! There are so many hikes, ways to help the environment, education opportunities AND, as an added bonus, meet people! They even have a section on international trips to help people around the world!
Attend a charity event! You can Race for the Cure, donate blood for Red Cross, play golf for Rylie’s Angels (one of my personal favorites!), etc. Meet new people and do some good!
Check your community and library event calendars online. There is a plethora of author talks, festivals, classes, book clubs, community theater events, trash pick-ups, nature walks, etc. Take your pick!
Animals are good for your health, enrich your life and make darn good friends. Maybe a pet would be a good option! Please keep in mind, they are also a huge commitment. I think the best entry into potential animal ownership is going to your local animal shelter and socializing the animals. If you enjoy that, try fostering an animal. You will become fully aware of the responsibility and can make an educated decision regarding pet ownership.
Just writing this piece has gotten me excited about all the opportunities out there! Try some of these ideas and report back! Or, let us know about your ideas! There are a whole lot of people in this world. No one should feel lonely...
P.S. How do you like my new “Find your clowder…” design!? (A clowder is a group of cats.) I wanted to combine the Spinster’s Guide® cats with searching for friends! Check out the Spinster’s Guide® Boutique for laptop sleeves, travel mugs, etc. featuring this new design!