If you hopped on social media today after being born yesterday and miraculously aging twenty-plus years overnight, you would not be out of order to conclude that Nigeria is a country where Valentine’s Day is celebrated.
Call it a bit of an exaggeration, but Valentine’s fever has been so strong in Nigeria in the past couple of years, that we had barely begun to witness dwindle of New Year’s messages when advertisements of various Valentine’s Day packages started making the rounds on Twitter.
It did not take long for pictures of packages and their prices to surface on Instagram and WhatsApp. Although, the prices of some of these packages are another issue entirely, but we have not known peace since.
Valentine’s Day packages aside, it is also easy for many people—especially single people—to be intimidated or ‘tensioned’ by social media posts of seemingly happy couples, loved up in exquisite locations with poetic captions to match. As though the love songs booming from the loudspeakers of your neighbours were not enough reminder of your dilemma
In a nutshell, we cannot wait for Valentine’s Day to come and go.
All the same, we must endure not just another frenzied Monday, but yet another Nigerian Valentine’s Day. And endure, we shall. Here are some tips on how to avoid being unnecessarily ‘tensioned’ this Valentine.
Avoid Social Media Entirely
Extreme times call for extreme measures. Twitter, Instagram and WhatsApp will be laden with posts and reposts of lovers on fancy dates, holding hands, kissing and whatnot. There will be loads of videos of celebrants, mostly women, reacting to their Valentine’s Day ‘surprises’.
It can be intimidating and saddening, especially if you are still healing from a heartbreak or if you have been unlucky with love in general. As a result, the best you can do is to avoid social media entirely on the 14th of February.
Stick to your mail, your web browser and relevant work applications. Your productivity would soar and you would have no one to thank but yourself.
Assure Yourself That It Is Partly Perfomative
At the end of the day, many Valentine’s Day celebrations are largely performative. A lot of people want to be extra and to show off, whether they truly love their partners or not. It would be naïve to think otherwise, as well as to let the whole show dampen your mood.
It is true that some people love loudly and emphatically, but true love encompasses concern. Some lovers do not consider whether their partner would appreciate being awoken an hour before schedule by a trumpet, receiving a surprise at work or being proposed to on Valentine’s Day.
Some people may be pulling off surprises for the opportunity to record it and post on social media for mass engagements. This is not an indictment of surprises in general. It is a reminder that seeming acts of love can be performative and need not intimidate you, even if genuine.
Mute Keywords And Status Updates
In line with the preceding suggestion, make your work easier by muting keywords typical of the season on Twitter. Mute select status updates on WhatsApp, as well.
The list of words that can be muted is endless, partly due to the creativity of human beings. However, examples of keywords that can be muted include: love, of, my, life, Valentine, Valentine’s Day, tension, dinner, date, choose, partner, husband, wife, girlfriend, boyfriend, best, thing, that, has, ever, happened, to, me.
On WhatsApp, you know the contacts that are taken. Act accordingly. Any post on Twitter or Facebook you see with just a love emoji or multiple love emojis as captions, jump and pass. Do not think twice.
In addition, do not make the mistake of unmuting key words and status updates on the morning of February 15. Give it at least three working days.
Avoid Love Songs
If you are a lover of music, it goes without saying that you should avoid playing love songs on Valentine’s Day. Resist the urge to inflict such damage on yourself. Whether it’s Ed Sheeran’s ‘Perfect’, Fireboy DML’s ‘Need You’ or Whitney Houston’s ‘I Will Always Love You’, act accordingly. Delete them temporarily, if you have to.
These songs have the proven effect of ‘tensioning’ you with your past love experiences and/or fantasies. This is arguably worse than seeing any post on social media. Once you hit play, you will descend down memory lane and possibly shed tears.
The last thing you need is to undo whatever progress you may have made in healing from a break-up or in assuring yourself that you are complete without a partner.
If your neighbour plays any love song, block your. If you hear any love song on the road, run away until you can no longer hear the song.
Be Happy For Every Couple, Believing That Yours Is Coming
Cynicism aside, there are instances where one just has to eat their dreaded frog. You might just be unable to take any of the foregoing extreme measures, which leaves you with one healthy choice: be genuinely happy for every couple in every love post you come across on social media.
Shrug off every thought of envy and nurse the hope that your love story would also be written some day.
There are many genuine and admirable romantic relationships, including those that have stood the test of time. It is of no benefit to be intimidated by heartfelt displays of love and devotion, but it is much more peaceful to be happy for other people.
There you have it. An uphill task awaits, but you have been armed with the necessary tools for the journey. Hopefully, the will to use these tools and to do the needful will materialise in you. There shall be no intimidation. There shall be no ‘tensioning’.