Optimize Your Valentine's Day

A Communication Guide

by by David Adler & Erica Schwiegershausen

illustration by by Diane Zhou

You have champagne, chocolate, candles, and a copy of Casablanca. All the pieces are there, but now it’s go-time and your mouth is full of tuna salad. So how do you get what you really want on Valentine’s Day? A ring, a trip to Las Vegas, a Whirlpool® bathtub, or simply a wet kiss? You’ve been there, and you know it’s true: pheromones can only get you so far. The real secret is verbal, person-to-person communication.

Respect Expert Advice

The people who make intimacy work have certain skills. You can learn any skill by reading and practicing. Take weaving and smithcraft, for example. It’s well known that by reading and practicing, you will achieve Mastery. When it comes to intimacy, Mastery is a state of mind—one that will allow you to go from being the low critter (or “four-legger”) on the totem pole to having the constant sensation of being awesome-feeling. There are some questions you need to ask yourself first, though. First:

Which Gem Is Right For Me?

You’re at Tiffany & Co. and you’re dazzled. But then you remember: T&C invented birthstones back in 1870. She’s a very practical Virgo, so Sardonyx is the one. Make it big.

Maybe the best sort of gem to give your lover is one that’s embedded in a toe ring. But remember: buy foot moisturizer. That way, the gem won’t chafe their winky.

“Oops!” you might say. “My lover has Athlete’s foot! I’m not sure that a toe ring is the best idea.” In that case, buy an anklet. Anklets are exactly like bracelets, but you wear them on the wrist-like body part above your foot—the foot-wrist. See a beautiful gem dangling there, and tell me your heart’s not rising into your mouth.

Charm bracelets are also really big right now. Here’s a dolphin (he loves the water); there is a four-leaf clover (cause she’s your lucky girl/Irish); and over here is a thimble—get experimental.

What You Can Do Right Now

1) Explore your Emotional Footprint. It’s important to remember that unexpressed feelings can leak into the conversation. In love especially, you have to constantly, constantly be asking yourself: am I projecting?

2) Find your emotions where they hide. Some feelings are harder to find than others. For example, gratitude, forgiveness. Ask yourself: can I move on from last year? Can I afford to Let It Go?

3) Often emotions get lost behind simple labels. Buzzwords like “Anger” and “Frustration” simply can’t capture a full bundle of feelings. The keyword here is describe. Take advantage of the pauses to ask your partner: can you say more about how you feel? Ask for more concrete information. Remember: listening to them helps you listen to you.

Be Proactive

1) Ask for what you want. You can’t be too explicit on Valentine’s Day. If you want someone to be your Valentine, you should just look them in the eye and tell them they remind you of the best thing you have ever smelled.

2) You can also communicate through objects. Keep asking yourself: can I say it with chocolate? Buy a teddy bear that says, “You’re looking awesome,” or bake a cake that does the same. Ask them to share some and give them a kiss on the cheek.

Conquering The Inevitable: Delivering Bad News

1) Always Put Bad News First

2) Don’t Rely On Subtext

3) Think Like A Mediator

David Adler B’14, Simon Engler B’14 & Erica Schwiegershausen B’13 are just not that into you.