The Five Manners of Valentine's Day Everyone Should Know
Valentine’s Day should be a day when no one feels left out. That’s because everyone is loved by someone, and that someone (or lots of someones) should express it!
It doesn’t need to be extravagant. It does need to be authentic and kindly expressed.
The day would be sweeter if there were less stress about gifts, dinners, and flowers. And more connecting through smiles, compliments, and kind words; all three of which can linger in the person’s heart forever and doesn’t cost a thing.
Here are the five manners of Valentine’s Day that will help you make the day special for others regardless of their romantic status.
1. The Spirit of the Day
While Valentine’s Day does hold a special place for lovers, it’s meant for everyone. It’s not just a day for passion. It’s a day to lift others out of the cold drab of February and warm them with a dash or more of your kindness and attention.
It’s a day to say to them, “My life is sweeter because you’re in it.”
You, of course, will show your fondness and thankfulness for different people in different ways, but your friends, relatives, pastor, coworkers, neighbors, teachers, favorite barista, hairdresser, the lady or man you pass in the aisle at Target who looks sad, and anyone else who comes to your mind, are perfect people to be your Valentines.
If we all got out a piece of paper and listed the people we’d like to thank, and then this week (it doesn’t have to be on February 14 only) actually thanked them with our words and a small remembrance (a card, a single flower tied with a small bow, a few chocolate kisses wrapped in burlap, etc), it would warm the hearts of so many.
2. The Flowers
The florist would love it if you plunked down $200 for an over-the-top arrangement of long-stem roses. However, unless this has been the norm since the start of your relationship, you can have a great Valentine’s Day without the flowers. If you are buying some, here are a few things you’ll want to know.
~Roses are generally reserved for romantic love. If you’re giving a flower (or a bouquet) to a friend, use a different type of flower or a mix of roses with other flowers.
~Flowers are equally lovely gifts for men as they are for women. Let the florists know they’re for your guy, and they’ll make up a “manly” arrangement of foliage.
~Have the flowers sent to work. She wants to enjoy seeing them all day. Plus, it’s fun when other people ask who they’re from and compliment about how pretty they are. For bonus points, deliver the flowers to her personally! It will be a quick visit, so you interrupt the office workflow as little as possible. But it will be the BEST five minutes of her workday. Be careful of public displays of affection in offices. You can sneak a quick kiss as she walks you to the door or to your car, or you can quietly tell her that a kiss is forthcoming this evening. Sweet anticipation.
~Ask what her favorite flowers are. If they’re roses, fine. If she thinks roses are OK but tulips or hydrangeas are the most beautiful flowers on Earth, buy her tulips or hydrangeas. They’re now your own private language of love!
3. The Cards and Gifts
A card or handwritten note is appropriate and nice for anyone as long as the sentiments aren’t too “mushy” for the relationship.
Both men and women buy gifts for one another, and you want your gift to represent where you are now, and not scare the other person off by giving a gift that signifies through intimacy or cost that the relationship is further along than the person feels comfortable with it being.
4. The Special Meal of the Day
If you’re going out to eat, these tips will help you get the most from your meal:
Make reservations. Make reservations. Make reservations. Make them weeks early if at all possible.
When making reservations early, make them in person, and pick out the table where you would like to sit. The one by the big bay window? The one in the romantic corner? You decide and let her know during dinner that you came in January and picked out the table. She’ll be impressed!
For added romance, hand-deliver flowers to the restaurant earlier in the day and have them waiting for her when you arrive.
Ask her whether she’d like you to surprise her and choose the restaurant or there’s somewhere she wants to go in particular. Sometimes people want to try the new place everyone is talking about. Sometimes people want to go back to a place they went when they were first dating. Sometimes they want formal. Sometimes they want casual. Talk. Ask. Inquire. It doesn’t make it any less romantic.
For a meal at home, ask what he or she would like you to prepare. Gentlemen, offer to cook! Ladies, you know his favorite meal, but is that what he wants for Valentine’s? Talk. Ask. Inquire. Of course, use your best dining skills and manners.
5. The Little Things That Make a Big Difference in The Day
Little things add up into big things fast. Here are the most impactful ones for you.
Dress up a bit. Whether you’re running errands or going out on the town, give everyone the gift of seeing you looking great today! Hair, makeup, maybe even some heels, ladies. Come on! Gentlemen, a tie, polished shoes, a close shave followed by your favorite after-shave. Oh yeah! It will show the ones you’re with that you put extra effort into looking good for them! When you’re complimented, reply with “Thank you! That’s very nice of you to say!” Even if you’re not dating now or you’ve been married twenty years, dress with the attention to detail we all put into dressing for first dates! You’ll feel special, and that feeling will flow out of you towards others.
Valentine’s Day is not the day for first dates. Not even coffee in the afternoon. Go two days before or after.
You can ask someone to marry you on Valentine’s Day, but don’t intentionally break up with someone. That’s cruel.
When you’re thinking of a gift, don’t go to what you know they always like or they buy for themselves anyway. In other words, you might think, “I’ll buy her a gift certificate for clothes where she buys most of her clothes.” It’s a nice thought, and she certainly won’t mind the gift, but the best gifts make memories. Instead, buy her a gift certificate to something she normally wouldn’t treat herself to, like a spa treatment, a massage, a manicure and a pedicure, tickets for the two of you to see a concert she’ll love, or a maid for a day or two.
Gentlemen, brush up on your chivalry. Open the door and stand behind it as your lady enters through it. Stand up each time she arrives at or leaves the table. Open the car door for her. Ask her what music she’d like to listen to in the car. Offer her your jacket or coat if she’s cold. Pull out her chair for her each time. Drop her off at the door of the restaurant while you park the car if valet service isn’t available. Tell her how beautiful she is — at least twice.
Everyone, put your cell phone away. Turn it off. Not on silent. Off. Thank you! Now you’re not distracted. (Here are more tips about this.)
This year, be someone’s Valentine. Actually, be a lot of people’s Valentine. Spread the spirit of the day to those who make your life sweeter with a genuine expression of gratitude towards them and maybe even a token of your kind thoughts. Valentine’s Day isn’t just for lovers. No one needs to be left out. It’s for everyone who realizes that the beauty of the day isn’t in the dinners, flowers, and diamonds — it’s in the smiles, kind words, and happy moments we give.
Happy Valentine’s Day and blessings!
Kim Purscell is a trained and licensed etiquette and protocol instructor, an accomplished speaker, and experienced business executive. Ms. Purscell’s passion is to help people move upward in the workplace by improving their professional image, behavior and communication skills; and empower clients, to present themselves with power, confidence, and credibility anywhere in the world. Ms. Purscell can be reached at Kim@EtiquetteMatters.us