Valentine’s Day usually inspires one of two emotions: “Joy” (if you’re in a relationship), or “Dread” (if you’re single and still looking).

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are some proven tips to help you successfully navigate the “singles minefield” that is Valentine’s Day:

Best:

1. Be classy, keep it classic: flowers, chocolates, and a nice card or note to your loved one are time-tested Valentine’s Day winners.

2. Get creative: who says Valentine’s Day has to be an over-priced dinner at a fancy restaurant? Try ice skating at Robson Square, or snowshoeing on a local mountain.

3. Be cultured: take your date on a tour of the Vancouver Art Gallery or Museum of Vancouver, followed by a post gallery drink and good conversation.

4. Pick another night: avoid the emotional and physical stress of making dinner reservations on Valentine’s eve. Choose another night and make it your own personal Valentine’s Day!

5. Take back Valentine’s Day: if you’re single, don’t sit alone at home feeling sorry for yourself; gather some single friends at your favourite pub or live music venue. You’ll likely run into other Valentine’s Day refugees and maybe even meet someone new.

Worst:

1. Rush it: don’t feel pressured to do something on Valentine’s Day that you wouldn’t otherwise do… it can be a nice night to show someone you care, but save the marriage proposal for another night.

2. Get an Expensive or Cheesy gift: cliché though it may be, it really is the thought that counts. Try a thoughtful, handwritten card instead of expensive jewellery or lingerie.

3. Lead someone on: if you do invite someone out on Valentine’s Day, be sure to manage expectations accordingly… if you see it as a simple friend’s get together, make sure your date knows that it’s not necessarily the start of something more serious.

4. Ignore it completely if you’re a couple: yes, Valentine’s Day is a ‘Hallmark Holiday’ and shouldn’t be a life-altering event, but if you have someone special in your life show them you care with a simple gift, thought or kind act.

5. Get depressed: if you’re single, focus on the positive. The arrival of Valentine’s Day means that spring, the ‘Matchmaking Season’, is right around the corner!