The exact origin of this cynical holiday is unclear; it kind of just materialized and morphed into a social media phenomenon. According to the Singles Awareness Day website, the holiday was copyrighted in 2005 as a day to "let singles have celebrations, get-togethers, etc. and to exchange gifts with their single friends." The website suggests you should send yourself flowers and plan an event for other single people to "mix and meet." Based on that description, you can see why SAD got a reputation for being kind of, well, sad.
In reality, people "celebrate" Singles Awareness Day however they damn please. The hashtag, #SinglesAwarenessDay on Instagram has 44,460 posts tagged, and many of them are sarcastic memes about the state of being single. If the posts are to be believed, people spend SAD shopping, eating fast food, and watching Netflix. And that sounds incredibly enjoyable — happy, even — whether you're single or in a relationship.
But that said, if you find yourself sad and sans partner on Valentine's Day, it's only natural for it to get to you. "The more general oohing and ahhing over romantic couples that happens around Valentine’s Day can also feel oppressive or just wearying to single people," Bella DePaulo, author of Singled Out: How Singles Are Stereotyped, Stigmatized, and Ignored, and Still Live Happily Ever After, told Refinery29. "It is part of the pervasive, year-round matri-maniacal messaging that insists that marriage and weddings and couples are awesome and everyone else is pathetic in comparison." An assessment that is categorically false.
Having a day to embrace your singleness might feel lame, but it ultimately could be good for your mental health. So, while the OG SAD manifesto encourages celebrations and get-togethers, if that's not really your style, you should find something you actually do want to do. "The pressure to create a special occasion frequently ends up causing people to plan something splashy that doesn’t necessarily align with their authentic self," Sari Cooper, LCSW, an individual and couples therapist told Refinery29.
From going out to a fancy dinner alone to staying in and listening to Ariana Grande for hours, we'd encourage you to embrace the solitary freedom of SAD in whatever way makes you happy.