Single on Valentine’s Day?

Monday, February 14. Valentine’s Day. People either love it or loathe it. Really.

The people that genuinely enjoy the holiday are typically in a relationship or in the early stages of one. Seeing someone, talking, dating–this holiday provides the perfect opportunity for people in this stage to establish their relationship and maybe even ‘make it official’. The people that loathe it tend to be single, or recently broken up.

But why is there even such a huge stigma around being single on Valentine’s Day? Sure, looking on your Instagram story and seeing people out to dinner, or on a romantic getaway somewhere tropical with their partner can make one feel a little extra lonely. But why is this the one day out of the entire year where people feel the need to actually be in a relationship to treat themselves?

According to a 2021 survey done by Entrepreneur, half of Americans identify as single today. In addition, polls done by Glamour found that 34% of people in relationships actually wished that they were single on Valentine’s Day. Wow.

So if such a vast number of Americans aren’t in relationships, why is V-Day marketing so geared towards couples?

Dr. Shelly Freyn, assistant professor of Marketing at Alfred University believes that brands are steering away from older perspectives and moving towards something more relatable.

“There has been an ongoing shift in marketing regarding what a "couple" looks like,” said Dr. Freyn. “Most advertisements focus on incorporating diversity to reflect the current environment and more closely connect to consumers.”

According to the US Chamber of Commerce, “45% of all the dollars spent for Valentine’s Day will be spent on non-romantic friends, family members and others.”

“In regards to Valentine's Day, brands are again moving away from the traditional to portray the current market, which means more singles, a strong indicator of how marketing will promote the holiday,” said Dr. Freyn. “Basically, Valentine's day is not for couples anymore.”

So if you don’t have a Valentine this year, don’t stress because chances are, a lot of other people probably don’t either. From now on, Valentine’s Day equals Self Awareness Day.

Perhaps the great poet Oscar Wilde said it best, "To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance."

By Larissa Hageman


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