If you’re in a new relationship this Valentine’s day, you may be searching for dating advice. All of those pink hearts and flower bouquets could have you sweating bullets. Do you go all out and plan an evening straight out of a romantic movie? Should you buy a gift? Or do you ignore the fact that it’s Valentine’s Day and avoid bringing up the holiday with your new date?
This year, avoid over-thinking the holiday and just enjoy the holiday. Your celebration doesn’t have to look just like the movies. It can be your own kind of celebration! Here are seven pieces of dating advice so you can have fun this February 14th.
1. Take the pressure off yourself
If you’re going out on a date on Valentine’s day, the best piece of dating advice we can give you is to take the pressure off of you and your date. What are your expectations for your holiday? If they involve extravagant expressions of affection or over-the-top romance, it can be easy to be disappointed if the evening doesn’t live up to your expectations.
Don’t get swept up in the material aspect of the holiday. Instead, have an honest conversation about the holiday with the person you’re dating so that you’re both on the same page.
“Pressure can mount when there isn’t the slightest clue as to what the game plan is,” explains Dr. Goal Auzeen Saedi, a clinical psychologists from the University of Notre Dame. “The easiest trick is also the simplest. Talk about it. Express ideas, concerns, even fears. Need to stick to a gift-giving budget, or nixing that altogether for an activity instead? Openly discussing things is the only way to Valentine’s success.
2. Avoid going overboard
Your Valentine’s day date doesn’t have to be extravagant or expensive. After all, there are plenty of inexpensive options for spending time together as a couple.
If the weather permits, pack a picnic and go on a stroll through a local park. In fact, hiking can be a great way to spend a date regardless of the weather. If it’s chilly where you live, bundle up and go for a hike in the snow. Then warm up with a cup of hot chocolate afterward! You could also sign up for a cooking class together, or go window shopping together.
Game nights, Eucharistic Adoration hours, or coffee shop conversations are great ways to get to know someone this Valentine’s day.
3. Keep it casual
It can be tempting to take a cue from romantic movies and go all out on your Valentine’s Day date. But you can enjoy spending time together with someone without having a date that looks like it’s straight out of a Nicholas Sparks romance.
Skip the cliche route this year. Instead of showing up to the date with a bouquet of flowers or chocolate, spend time thinking about how you and your partner can grow deeper in your relationship every day of the year. Romance can be found in the little things, too!
4. Serve others
Saint Thomas Aquinas taught that to love means to consistently will and choose the good of the other. This Valentine’s Day, strive to authentically love not only the person your dating, but others in your life, too.
You and your date can spend your time together serving those who are forgotten. Volunteer together at a retirement home with a game night event, or simply visiting with residents and recognizing their dignity. Serve dinner at a local soup kitchen. Another way you could give back could be creating care packages for homeless people in your local community.
Liturgically, Catholics remember the life of Saint Valentine on his feast day. Valentine ministered to those in prison and fought for the sanctity of marriage. If you’re tired of the commercialized holiday, take inspiration from Valentine’s life and serve others.
5. Explore new topics
Add adventure and fun to your love life this Valentines’ day by trying something new. You could take your date to a new restaurant in town, or try out a type of food you’ve never tasted before. Or maybe try out an activity you’ve never done like pottery or improv comedy. You’ll have memorable moments together and cross something off your bucket list all at the same time.
If you’ve recently started dating someone in a long distance relationship, this can apply even if you’re not in the same zip code or time zone this Valentine’s Day! Explore new conversation topics together on a phone or video call and discover something new about your date (and yourself!).
6. Dress up
Valentine’s Day is a great chance to dress up. Especially in the dark days of winter, a chance to get a little festive with your wardrobe is always welcome.
Even casual dates give you a chance to have fun with your clothing choices. Add a little Valentine’s Day flair to your outfit with a red blazer, pink tie, or heart themed jewelry. You can dress appropriately for a date and still have fun!
But at the end of the day, remember that it’s important to focus on who you’re with rather than what you look like.
7. Get a group involved
If you’re just getting to know someone this Valentine’s day, arrange a group date for you and a few friends. This is a great way to keep it casual and pressure-free. You’ll also get the chance to introduce your love to your friends and see how things mesh with your group.
Looking for inspiration for a group night? Here are a few ideas:
- Try to escape from a escape room
- Go on a photo scavenger hunt together
- Plan a game night at someone’s house and eat a potluck dinner
- Go bowling as a group
- Visit an art museum and discuss the exhibits
- Race go karts together
Valentine’s Day can be whatever you want it to be. There are plenty of ways to enjoy a fun, memorable day without compromising your faith or morals.