Culture Editor, Leanne McCarthy, shares the pros and cons of Valentine’s Day in 2020.

No matter how you spent February 14th this year, it’s highly unlikely you’ll have been able to avoid the buzz around Valentine’s day. Whether you’re in a relationship or not, a recurring question might be – what’s all the fuss about?

Don’t get me wrong, in theory, Valentine’s day is a lovely idea. It is a whole day dedicated to showing your loved ones that you care about them. Having a particular day allocated to this means that you can set time aside in an otherwise busy schedule – it’s easy to get caught up with things in life, so having a known date in advance helps those with lots going on.

Valentine’s day is also not limited to romantic love! With the increasing popularity of things like ‘Galentine’s Day’, you could take the time to do something fun with friends and family. Reminding people you care, whatever your type of relationship with them, is a key part of keeping your loved ones close.

Going back to romantic forms of love, Valentine’s day could act as the perfect nudge for people who may feel reluctant to share how they feel. With all the romance around, it could be an encouraging atmosphere to get things out in the open!

Whatever you think of Valentine’s day as a holiday, there is no doubt that receiving cards, gifts, or going on special dates are exciting and fun!

However, Valentine’s day also has its negative side. With all the hype surrounding the day, it can feel like there’s a lot of pressure.

You may feel as though there are expectations to spend money, which can be difficult on a student budget! Commercialising romance is a big business, and it seems as though advertising campaigns have engrained ‘cards, chocolates, and flowers’ deep into the minds of many. While some people might feel gift-giving is an essential part of that special day, I think it’s ridiculous to spend money on things which will be on sale only 24 hours later! There are also ways to give gifts without spending lots of money – a heartfelt letter or homemade present show you’ve put time and thought into it!

As well as pressure to buy gifts, you may feel there are expectations on how to act with Valentine’s day. This runs from going out on dates, which you might feel you ‘need’ to do because it’s the given thing (don’t go on a date just for the sake of it, wait until you actually want to go somewhere or do something with that special someone!), all the way to feeling pressured into sexual intimacy. Just because it’s a special day about love and romance does NOT mean that your Valentine is entitled to anything! Remember, it’s important to respect boundaries and take relationships at a pace which you are both comfortable and happy with!

All in all, Valentine’s day can be a fun way to spend time with the people you love. You should take it with a pinch of salt though, so don’t feel pressured into purchases, dates, or expressions of emotion and intimacy you’re not comfortable with!

Featured image by Frankie Stevens


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