Valentine’s Day might be dedicated to romance, but that doesn’t mean we can’t share the love with people other than our significant others on this special day. For every girl receiving a bouquet of flowers, there’s surely a steadfast colleague or a lonely parent who could appreciate a loving gesture just as much as your significant other would.
So before the day’s over, make sure you show a little love to one of the following people:
1. Your boss
Whether your boss is Mother Theresa or Satan incarnate, try to bust out of your bubble a little by showing her some love today. You don’t need to be showy, lest earn a reputation for brown-nosing, but make an effort to demonstrate your gratitude for your job and your admiration for her leadership skills.
Loving gestures: Treat her to lunch, buy her coffee, and make your deadlines a day early.
2. Your barista
It’s not easy making people’s coffee. Not only do you have to deal with long queues, complicated orders, and fatigue-induced crankiness, but more often than not, you have to act polite and friendly without receiving any smiles in return.
Loving gesture: As basic as it sounds, smiling and saying “good day” (rather than wordlessly passing your Starbucks card) goes a long way. And while tipping might not be the norm in Singapore, almost every café’s got a tip jar by the counter. Drop in a little bit of spare change today – you never know which barista needs to scrounge up some cash to pay for his girlfriend’s Valentine’s Day present.
3. Your fellow commuters (even the stinky ones)
Yes, even queue-cutting aunties and unwashed characters could use a little love today. Begin by letting the old lady through and by withholding your death glare for any insolent youths.
Loving gesture: Offer your seat to somebody who needs it more than you do -- even when you’re not sitting in the reserved areas.
4. Your office’s janitorial workers
It’s easy to overlook people in service, such as the cleaning aunties, the repairmen, and the people who clean your table once you’re done eating. And while it’s easy to regard them like they’re inferior – or worse, invisible – the truth is, they work just as much as we do and deserve to be treated with respect.
Loving gesture: Treat the auntie with some dignity today. Say hello when you see her in the hallways, thank her when she takes out your trash, or go the extra mile by passing her a Valentine’s card.
5. Your long-suffering intern
As Sirius Black said in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, “If you want to know what a man’s like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.” Regardless of his abilities, show your intern some love today by treating him like a person, not just as a personal assistant.
Loving gesture: Encourage him in his work, take him out to coffee, and have a genuine conversation about how he’s doing at work and what else he wants to learn. And since it’s Valentine’s Day and a Friday – let him go home early!.
6. Your ever-loving, ever-neglected parents
It goes without saying that we take for granted the people who love us the most. We react to every midday phone call with comments like “Mum, go away, I’m in a meeting” and zone out the minute our dads start telling us what they saw on the Chinese news channel. They’ve worked so hard over the past couple weeks of the Chinese New Year that it’s time to give them a rest and return the favour.
Loving gesture: Bring home flowers for your mother, dabao a snack for your dad, and offer to cook or clean for both of them while they relax at home.
7. The tissue auntie at your MRT station
As shameful as it is to admit, we can get a little jaded after being exposed to too many needy people. How many times have we avoided eye contact with an old lady selling tissue just so she’d go away? Ignore them enough times, and it becomes second nature to feel annoyed, rather than compassionate, when an elderly person interrupts our meal or our walk to the MRT just to shove tissues in our faces.
Loving gesture: Learn to help others not out of guilt, but out of a genuine concern. So today, buy ALL THE TISSUES. You’ll use them eventually anyway.
8. That one friend who puts up with all of your crap
We all have that one friend who deals with our endless work rants, our relationship drama, and our late-night message spams on Whatsapp. Friendship might be a two-way street, but at times it can be a little thankless – and yet, for whatever reason, this friend still manages to stick around.
Loving gesture: Bake her a pan of brownies and deliver them to her house (or to her office if she’s got plans for the night).
9. Your neighbour
Do you know who lives next door to you? Have you ever said hello to them in the lift? Do you even know their names? If you’re not already friendly with them, now might be a good time to make the first move.
Loving gesture: Leave some fruit or some home-cooked (or home-baked) goods at their door as a sign of goodwill. Don’t forget to sign it, lest they think it’s some kind of weird prank (not an unusual thought in a society like this one, where neighbours rarely interact, let alone do nice things for each other).
10. The person you have a secret crush on
Ha! You didn’t think we’d include the object of your affection on this list, did you? Since this person isn’t your significant other (yet), he or she still counts. So what are you waiting for? Unless he’s already spoken for, make your intentions known. Or at least do something that will put you on his radar.
Loving gesture: Skip the “secret admirer” crap and show some initiative by asking this person out on a date.