Don't expect a lot
If you are single, expectations are naturally likely to be pretty low, but bear in mind that this is likely to be a rubbish day for people in a relationship, too. Nothing kills spontaneity like having a date pencilled in the diary 12 months in advance, and even rock-solid partnerships can crack a little under the weight of expectations come 14 February. Try to relax, as this will reduce the risk of Valentine's-induced arguments. It is worth noting that women buy 85 per cent of Valentine's Day cards, so your chances of being surprised with a gem from Clinton are significantly higher if you are a man.
This is equally important whether you are single or coupled. It isn't just cosy Italian restaurants that like to embrace the Valentine's theme; your local greasy spoon may offer only the "Valentine's Menu". Even hip clubs get in on the act with "Valentine's Balls" – a phrase that conjures up awful visions of school discos. If you want to avoid these delights, you've got to do your research.
Consider ignoring it
Difficult to do, but worth a try. Every shop has been steadily filling up with Valentine's gifts for weeks, and supermarket checkouts are infested by chocolate "love bugs". Unless you're a churchgoer, claim to be abstaining on religious grounds – the day is thought to have been named after early Christian martyrs called Valentine – and ignore the whole sorry event.
If you're single, it can be depressing to see your coupled-up friends being showered with gifts and zipping away on mini-breaks. But there's no reason singles should be left out. If you've been dreaming of a volume of love poetry – or even a scarlet number from Ann Summers for a special occasion – just buy them for yourself.