Valentine’s day is around the corner again, and maybe you feel that familiar gut-wrenching anxiety. “Oh shit, is it that time of the year again?” you ask, as you scramble to make plans, anything to seem like you didn’t shut yourself in like some loveless hermit. Maybe you make it a point to go out, to protest what the day stands for and to assert your rightful place as a proud, single person. Maybe you log on to Facebook and Twitter, posting status updates on how dumb couples are for wasting their money on Valentine’s day and succumbing to social pressures. Or maybe you simply stay home with a bottle of booze and binge through 8 seasons of your favourite TV show, waiting for the Lovepocalypse to end.

Whatever you do, do it, but don’t feel sorry for yourself.

Be confidently comfortable. Are you ready to be in a relationship? Then ask someone out, or meet new people.  If you’re comfortable with being single, then actually be comfortable. Realise that if people want to go out and celebrate their relationship, that’s perfectly fine. Are they wasting money or conforming to some sort of social pressure? Maybe, but that’s not your problem. Nitpicking on how fake the day is, or how stupid couples are to be celebrating it reflects more on your insecurities than them.

And most of all, don’t buy every other seat in the cinema just to spite couples on Valentine’s day. Needy, and not cool.

Whether we care to admit it or not, Valentine’s day has a way of pressuring us all, even among couples. It’s like some sort of romance report card day, where we’re expected to show the world the progress of our love lives and compare it with each other. If you’re single, you fail. If your boyfriend doesn’t buy you flowers, you fail. If the two of you don’t do anything on that day, you fail.

But ‘fail’ by whose standards? People seem to forget that relationships are a part of your personal life, and are exactly that – personal. No one else knows what you’re going through right now, which is why no one has a right to judge. Maybe you’re comfortable with being by yourself, maybe flowers are just not how you and your significant other express your love, maybe both of you think that Valentine’s day really is just a waste of money and choose to stay in, and all of that’s okay.

Whatever you decide, don’t let Valentine’s day dictate your actions or how you feel.  On a purely practical level, Valentine’s day is really just another 24 hours of your life, no different from all the other days you’ve had so far.  Forget all the social connotations and expectations attached with it. Whether your day is depressing or uplifting, it really is up to you.

So ask someone out, celebrate with a loved one, or stay in and blow through that TV series you downloaded and be okay with wanting to do just that. Whatever your status is, don’t feel bad or sorry for yourself, because really, Valentine’s day is simply too superficial to compel you into something as wonderful and complex as a relationship. Take your time, be honest and comfortable with yourself, and eventually things will happen at their own pace.