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10 Low-tech Valentine Hacks

10 Low-tech Valentine Hacks

Message to the Ladies: This is a post written for the men in your life. Casually leave this page open and put your laptop in the fridge, he’ll see it. Alternatively, post it to facebook with something like “Hahaha, Can You Imagine!??!”. Curiosity will do the rest for you.

Message to the Men: Hey guys, did you find this article in your fridge? It’s a trap, your lady doesn’t think you’re being romantic enough. I’m here to help with some romantic hacks.

Technology’s really convenient when you need directions to your friend’s party or your therapist. However when you’re trying to spend some one-on-one facetime with that special someone, tech gets in the way.

It’s not in our DNA to fall-in-love with screennames or avatars. We’re programmed to recognize the real tangible moments in day-to-day life. Today I present some refreshingly LOW-TECH valentines day hacks for guys to wow the women in their lives.

WARNING! This list contains much saturated AWESOME. If you do everything on the list she WILL expect a proposal at the end of the night. Choose what you do carefully.

1. Setting the Mood

This is a huge one guys! In order for the other nine hacks to work, you need to set the tone for the day before she even wakes up. The most effective way is through breakfast in bed. Here are a few helpful hints:

  • If it came from McDonalds it’s not considered “food”. Cook it yourself, guy.
  • Avoid bacon. It’s called “nature’s candy” for a reason, the delicious smell will wake her and ruin your surprise.
  • It’s not breakfast without orange juice, haven’t you seen a commercial?
  • Your best bet is homemade GIGANTIC waffles. She’ll know you care because they’re such a pain in the butt to make.

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    Wake up an hour early to chug your coffee and start cooking. When the meal’s done, tiptoe to the bedroom and gently wake her up. When she squints at you and smiles, be all “Surprise honey, I made you waffles!”.

    Make sure to give her a moment to get up and use the toilet before you shove the food in her face. Congrats, you set the mood for the perfect valentines day!

    2. Four-Minute Card

    A long, long time ago before there were ecards, people used to actually give each other pieces of paper. They called these pieces of paper “cards” and it was meant as a display of affection. It may seem like a kindergarden arts-and-crafts project, but a homemade card shows you actually care about her. Here’s some sage advice from a god among men:

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    A  transcript for those who forgot their headphones: “Take one sheet (of printer paper), fold it in half, draw a heart on it, sign your name, write I love you”.

    BOOM BABY! How’s that for some $0.05 insta-romance? It’d only take you four minutes of your time and you have no reason not to.

    Bonus tip: Glue a ‘piece of nature’ to your homemade card for extra points.

    3. Poetry

    A poem is like a text, but longer and with no Emojis. You don’t have to be French to grasp the basics of speaking romantically.The great thing about poetry is there are no rules, which makes it surprisingly simple to write! You don’t even have to rhyme, just describe her and swap out some words with a thesaurus.

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      Bonus Tip: Throw your poem in the card you made in hack #2 for maximum romantic synergy.

      4. Heat things up

      Turn off those new-fangled electric lights and go back to your caveman roots! The soft flicker of old fashioned fire is very alluring. She’ll agree that nothing is more romantic than cuddling in-front of a fireplace, or having a meaningful conversation by candlelight.

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        With fire, it can be easy to go overboard, make sure you’re keeping things practical. There’s no need to navigate the house with a big medieval torch.

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        Bonus tip: Avoid mixing scented candles. Pine+peach+peanutbutter is the smell of deer vomit, not romance.

        5. Play a Board Game

        You’ve been reliant on technology for so long, that you’ve completely forgotten how to act when it’s all taken away from you. Long before Facebook ruled your social life, board games acted as a crazy kind of analogue software.

        Thanks to the hipsters and geeks of the world, board games are having a comeback. You’ll want to be careful about which game you’re selecting, however. A 12-hour game of monopoly isn’t exactly what I had in mind. Here’s a hilarious game that was designed by couples, for couples:

        Bonus tip: The funnier the game, the better. Laughing releases oxytocin, the “love” chemical. SCIENCE!!

        6. Actually Dress Nice

        I wasn’t looking forward to having this talk with you, but it’s time.

        You’re a complete mess! Nobody taught guys how to properly dress-up without the use of youtube as a guide. On the rare occasion us guys do pull it together, it’s usually for the one profile pic and then it’s back to pajamas for the rest of the week. That’s just not going to fly this valentines day.

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          Dress in something form fitting. Regardless of your bodytype, you always look better with clothes that properly fit.If you’re a chubby guy and self-conscious about it, use layers for camouflage.

          Bonus Tip: If you’re reading this on the Valentine’s morning there’s still hope. Take your best clothes, apply a lint-roller, iron, and bottle of Fabreeze. Act confident and tell us how it turns out!

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          7. Romance On the Cheap

          Since you’re doing the homemade card throwback anyways, here’s another way a younger version of yourself was trying to get lucky with the ladies.

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            A single red rose is a romantic (and inexpensive) gift that will show her, you’re not just devilishly handsome, but also pretty thoughtful and junk, too.

            Bonus Tip: Serve the rose with the breakfast in step one. You’ll want to have a mop ready, because she’s going to melt.

            8. Nostalgia Like WOAH

            This is the one that will get you in trouble, if you don’t plan on popping the question.

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              Take her back to where you had your first date (or where you first met, if you can remember). Prepare some stories from the time you spent here. Look in the mirror beforehand and try to rehearse a single tear-drop rolling down your cheek. Let her know you remember the place like it was yesterday.

              Bonus tip: Don’t attempt the cry if you can’t master the single tear. A hint of sentimentality from an otherwise put-together guy is one thing. Snotface crying is much less attractive.

              9. Dinner

              If you can swing a home-cooked meal, you should eat dinner in the previously mentioned candlelight. If you feel like you’ll burn your house down, maybe a restaurant is a better idea.

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                From the moment you step foot inside the restaurant, cell phones are to be turned off. I didn’t say to set them to “silent”, you’ll actually be turning them OFF. No instagramming your food, no checking texts, no social media. You’ll be looking at each other’s faces and talking to each other using words that come from your mouths.

                Bonus tip: Be interesting. You have time to prepare for this, and now’s your time to impress her with things not directly related to video games.

                10. Romantic Coupons

                This takes the concept of the card an entire leap forward. You probably plan on doing little things here and there for her anyways right?

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                  So why not cash-in on those things by giving her coupons for them. Throw her a few footrub coupons, a few for doing the dishes, and a few a bit more exotic.

                  Bonus tip: You lose points for calling it a groupon.

                  Remember, valentines day takes place on a Saturday this year. Consider extending the technological hiatus throughout Sunday and see how you feel.Who knows, you might not want to go back!

                  Featured photo credit: Romantic Heart from Love Seeds via farm7.staticflickr.com

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                  Dennis Duty

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                  Last Updated on January 15, 2019

                  What Are Interpersonal Skills? Master Them for Better Relationships

                  What Are Interpersonal Skills? Master Them for Better Relationships

                  When I wrote my book Extraordinary PR, Ordinary Budget: A Strategy Guide, I was surprised at the various layers of review and editing necessary to get the book to publication. Before I ever submitted the manuscript, I enlisted a former colleague to read and copy edit my work. Then, I submitted my work to an editor at the publisher’s house, and once she approved it, she sent it to her colleagues and then her company’s editorial board.

                  Upon editorial board approval of my book, my editor sent my work to reviewers in my field, then a developmental editor, then a designer and layout team and, finally, another copy editor. There were a host of personalities with whom I needed to interact along the way.

                  It turns out that getting a publishing contract was just the beginning – a lot happens between developing a concept, writing the book, finding an agent and publisher, and getting the book on bookshelves or on Audible or Kindle. Through every milestone of the publishing process, my ability to interact with others was crucial. This underscored for me that no matter what or how much a person accomplishes, you never do it alone – everyone needs assistance from others.

                  While I conceived of the book and wrote the manuscript, there is no way my book could have hit booksellers’ shelves without the dozens of people who were involved in the publishing process. Further, interpersonal skills can propel or stonewall success.

                  Even as someone who has written hundreds of essays, press releases, pitch notes and other correspondence, writing itself is not a solitary endeavor. Sure, I may write in solitude, but the moment I am finished writing, there are always clients, colleagues, partners, peers and others who review my content.

                  What is more, even as a published author and contributor for this platform, I try to never submit final copy (content) that has not been copy edited. I send everything to my copy editor, whom I pay out of my own pocket, for her review, edits and approval. Once she has reviewed my work, caught unbeknownst-to-me errors, I am much more confident putting my work out in the world.

                  How Interpersonal Skills Affect Relationships

                  It is clearer to me now more than ever before that interpersonal skills are needed in every profession and every trade.

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                  People don’t elect leaders because the leaders are smart. Individuals are motivated to vote when they have a hero and when they feel they have something to lose. If they seriously dislike the other candidate, they are much more likely vote according to a 2000 Ohio State University study:

                  “A disliked candidate is seen as a threat, and that will be motivation to go to the polls. But a threat alone isn’t enough – people need to have a hero to vote for, too, in order to inspire them to turn out on Election Day.”

                  In a work setting, interpersonal skills impact every facet of your development and success. Trainers must collaborate with a design team or the company hiring them to facilitate the training. During the training itself, the facilitators must connect with the audience and establish a rapport that supports vulnerability and openness. If the trainers interact poorly with the trainees, they are unlikely to be invited back. If they are invited back, they may be unlikely to inspire cooperation or growth in their trainees.

                  Solopreneurs interactions with clients and subcontractors, and those interactions will, in part, support or adversely impact their business. If you enjoy a career as an acclaimed surgeon or respected lawyer, your interactions with patients, clients, health insurance agencies and a team of other practitioners – many of whom are shielded from public view – will improve or decimate your practice.

                  As a hiring manager, one of the things I consider when interviewing candidates is their interpersonal skills. I assess the interpersonal skills they display in their content and face-to-face presentation. I ask probing questions to learn how they interact with others, manage conflict and contribute to a team atmosphere.

                  When candidates say things like, “I prefer to work alone” or “I can hit the ground running without assistance,” I bristle. When candidates appear to know everything and everyone, I wonder if they will be receptive to learning or open to feedback. Could these statements be indications that these individuals lack interpersonal skills?

                  It stands to reason, then, that interpersonal skills are among the most valuable and the bedrock of all talents and skills.

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                  What are Interpersonal Skills?

                  Interpersonal skills range from emotional intelligence, empathy, oral and written communication to leadership to collaboration and teamwork.

                  In sum, interpersonal skills are skills that enable you to interact well with others. They include teachability and receptiveness to feedback, active or mindful listening, self-confidence and conflict resolution.

                  From a communications standpoint, interpersonal skills are about understanding how colleagues prefer to communicate and then using the appropriate mediums to meet respective needs. It is about understanding how to communicate in a way to get the most out of different people.

                  For instance, in my career as a public relations practitioner, part of what I am constantly evaluating is which colleagues, clients and members of the media prefer email, text or phone calls. I am assessing how much frill to use with each person depending on what has worked in the past and depending on what I know about the person with whom I am interacting.

                  Making these decisions and being disciplined enough to follow each person’s known preferences helps me better connect with the various individuals in my orbit. Is this tiring at times? Yes. Is it necessary? Absolutely.

                  How to Improve Interpersonal Skills

                  There are tons of resources to teach interpersonal skills. I love books such as Leadership Presence by Belle Linda Halpern and Kathy Lubar, and The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman.

                  There are also a host of books and articles on emotional intelligence, which is the ability to manage one’s emotions and perceive and adapt to others’ emotions. Emotional intelligence is likewise a critical component of positive interpersonal relations. You can learn more about it in this article: What Is Emotional Intelligence and Why It Is Important

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                  Active and mindful listening also support improved interpersonal skills. I recommend you take a look at this piece: Active Listening – A Skill That Everyone Should Master

                  I have further found that humility helps a ton with interpersonal skills. It takes humility to admit you have more to learn and that you can learn from the people around you. In fact, everyone with whom you interact has a lesson to teach you. And employers are increasingly looking for team members who are lifelong learners, meaning they believe there is always room for growth and professional and personal development.

                  Forbes contributor Kevin H. Johnson noted in a July 2018 article,

                  “That’s why, when anyone asks what the next ‘hot’ skill will be, I say it’s the same skill that will serve people today, tomorrow, and far into the future—the ability to learn.”

                  Don’t overlook introspection.

                  While interpersonal skills may seem simple enough, introspection is critical to learning where and in what ways you need to grow.

                  Through introspection and observation, I have learned that my interpersonal skills suffer when I am sleep deprived, because then I am short-tempered and irritable. I’ve observed this connection over a significant period in my life. Unsurprisingly, it is also true of others. Fellow LifeHack contributor, health coach and personal trainer Jamie Logie noted:

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                  When you are chronically sleep deprived, it really does a number on you. A lack of sleep can keep your body in a constant state of stress and over time this can get pretty ugly. Elevated stress hormones can be involved in creating a bunch of pretty nasty conditions including anxiety, headaches and dizziness, weight gain, depression, stroke, hypertension, digestive disorders, immune system dysfunction, irritability.

                  Additionally, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development reported,

                  “Sleep deprivation can noticeably affect people’s performance, including their ability to think clearly, react quickly, and form memories. Sleep deprivation also affects mood, leading to irritability; problems with relationships, especially for children and teenagers; and depression. Sleep deprivation can also increase anxiety.”

                  The point is, even as you are identifying ways to improve interpersonal skills, think about what is getting in the way. While sleep deprivation is a trigger for me, your stumbling block may be different.

                  The Bottom Line

                  You cannot fix what you do not know is broken. Even as you work to understand and apply interpersonal skills, spend some time in mindful meditation to get clear on what is holding you back from developing solid relationships.

                  Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

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