Happy Early Valentine’s Day!
Some of you adore this celebration of all things love. Some of you may hate it. Either way, the following tips will help you get through the holiday with grace and good manners.
1. Keep the PDA to a minimum. It’s great that you’re so head over heels in love, but do you think that your server or fellow diners need to see you pawing at each other? No! Hand-holding or a discreet peck is fine; anything else is inappropriate in public.
2. Don’t turn your desk into a Hallmark store. I never fail to see heart balloons, gigantic floral displays, cookie bouquets, and red teddy bears at the bank or doctor’s office on Valentine’s Day. It’s understandable to want to show off your presents, but it doesn’t send off the professional executive image you crave. Instead of over-the-top displays, limit yourself to a simple floral arrangement, and stash the cards and heart-shaped boxes of chocolate in a desk drawer until it’s time to head home. You may also consider sharing your sweets with the office—but do so by leaving it in the kitchen with a note that says “Enjoy!”; going desk-to-desk can make you seem like you’re a little desperate to rub your love token in other people’s faces.
3. Keep the kitsch at bay. Heart-shaped buttons and head-to-toe pink and red will not get you taken seriously. Dress for work as you normally would, with perhaps a subtle and tasteful heart-shaped cufflink or charm necklace. A soft pink button-down or red blouse is also acceptable, provided it’s not too costumey.
4. Share the love. The days of handing out homemade Valentines to everyone in your class are long over, but if you want to mark the occasion, do so in a way that makes everyone feel included. A cookie tray or baked good for the office is a nice gesture. I also know of a small office where the company ordered flowers for every female in the office, which was a big hit. Do not, however, hand out cards or personal gifts.
5. Be considerate. Just as there are those who cherish Valentine’s Day, there are also many people who can’t wait for the love-fest to be over. If you have a date with a special someone, that’s great. But it’s rude to brag about your fancy candlelit dinner at the best restaurant in town to your co-worker who has just been dumped or your freshly divorced boss. You don’t know what people’s love situations may be, so stay tactful and wait for others to ask you about your plans. Or, simply ask co-workers if they have anything exciting planned for the weekend, rather than pointedly asking about Valentine’s Day.