I Can Relate

The joys and challenges of relating with others.

5 Things Not to Say on Valentine’s Day

Avoid these common pitfalls for a better Valentine’s Day

All holidays are filled with the potential for great joy…or serious disappointment. Many of us have experienced both sides during the Christmas holiday, but Valentine’s Day carries its own risks, especially if you say or do something wrong. Here are five things to avoid saying on Cupid’s day:

“I love you” (for the first time)

It’s tempting to make such a grand gesture on a day reserved for sweethearts. But saying “I love you” for the first time on Valentine’s Day is a little like saying it for the first time during passionate sex. Valentine’s Day represents an opportunity to celebrate your feelings for each other, but the truth is you should reserve your big disclosure for a moment when you are truly taken by the feeling and your best instincts tell you your partner is feeling the same way. Confessing your love for the first time on a predictable day, time, and place could fall flat. Save it for the right moment.

“We need to talk”

Not much explanation needed here. We’ve all heard horror stories of someone getting dumped or enduring the “big talk” at a wildly inappropriate time. If you have something important to share about your relationship, by all means share it—just pick a different day.

“I don’t care about Valentine’s Day”

We all know Hallmark and Godiva are the biggest winners on Valentine’s Day. And we all know love is a fundamental human experience that should be celebrated regularly, not just once a year on a designated day. Nevertheless, most of us expect something a little different on Valentine’s Day—some kind of acknowledgement that our relationship matters. So refrain from telling your partner you don’t care about Valentine’s Day unless you truly want the day to go unrecognized, or you’re trying to test the relationship (which is also not recommended).

“That pisses me off”

Holidays can be disappointing when increased expectations collide with ill-fated plans or poor dinner service. If the restaurant loses your reservation on any given day, it’s annoying but usually no big deal—you just go somewhere else. But when things go wrong on Valentine’s Day we tend to take it harder.

If you want to cap off the evening by ensuring everyone knows your disappointment, you certainly can. But if you want to enjoy what’s left of the experience, let it go and laugh it off. Sometimes plan B will be even better, and a bad experience makes a good story.

“Are you free tonight?”

While in graduate school, I was invited on a first date on Valentine’s Day and unfortunately, I said yes. Getting acquainted on a first date is hard enough without the added pressure of being surrounded by advanced couples who are gaga for each other. We were at the Olive Garden and the couple sitting next us announced their engagement. Talk about pressure! So if you don’t have a partner and some poor soul invites you out on the evening reserved for love, kindly decline, order a pizza and watch a scary movie. You’ll thank me in the morning.  

Heidi Reeder, Ph.D. is the author of the forthcoming book, Commit to Win (Hudson Street Press).

Find me on: FacebookTwitter, and www.heidireeder.com.

 

Heidi Reeder, Ph.D., is an associate professor of communication at Boise State University.

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