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How to Plan A Romantic Valentine’s Day Date for Your Loved One

How to Plan A Romantic Valentine’s Day Date for Your Loved One

Here we are at that time of year again—romance is in the air, Valentine’s Day gifts and cards are all over stores and the online world is buzzing with search queries by nervous boyfriends, girlfriends, husbands and wives looking to find the right way to show their significant other how much they care about them. No matter how much love they feel inside, some people just aren’t that romantic and don’t know how to show their feelings in a way that will impress their loved one and melt their hearts. There is no shame in looking for help when it comes to romance—we all have much to learn about love and the many different ways of expressing it.

Couple kissing during sunset

    In fact, those more experienced in the ways of love, veterans of 10+ years of marriage, will tell you that the more you get to know someone the more you are aware of the fact that there is a vast sea of things you don’t know about love and relationships, a sea that can easily drown those who are unprepared. Luckily, planning a great romantic Valentine’s Day date is something that you can research and prepare for, even if you are lacking in the romance department. Here are several somewhat generalized steps that work across the board and will help you create the perfect romantic experience for your loved one.

    1. Develop your strategy well in advance.

    The worst thing you can do is to wait until you only have a day or two until Valentine’s Day and then start frantically throwing together some sort of gift and trying to find a restaurant that isn’t booked solid. Give yourself enough time to plan the date and think about all the little details that make the difference between a pretty good date and a heart-melting super-date. Reservations need to be made pretty early on since good restaurants can be booked a month in advance and you’ll want to do some shopping at least a week earlier to avoid the holiday rush. If you already have a plan you will also be a lot less stressed out when the actual day comes.

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    2. Prepare all the little things first.

    Apart from making restaurant reservations or ordering a gift online pretty early on so everything is ready by Valentine’s Day, the most important thing you should focus on are the details or finishing touches. A card, or better yet, a fancy love letter is something you can work on for about 30 minutes a day in the week leading to V-day, and you can also start working early on things like:

    • Candles
    • Massage oil
    • A romantic music playlist
    • Cute boxes and gift wraps
    • Flowers and chocolate
    • Sexy lingerie or role-playing costumes
    • Small gift basket items like perfumes and soaps

    Romantic gift basket

      Having these important items ready a few days in advance will allow you to focus on more important things come Valentine’s Day, things like making sure your date is having fun and that everything is going smoothly and according plan.

      3. Craft the perfect gift for your loved one.

      There are a whole bunch of generic gifts out there, but try and avoid clichés and focus on something your significant other really cares about. You can use standard Valentine’s Day gifts like heart-shaped items, teddy bears, flowers and chocolate as part of gift basket, but be sure to include something related to the activities, ideals and concepts your partner holds dear.

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      4. Dining out vs. preparing a romantic dinner.

      Each of these two options has its strengths and weaknesses, so the right choice will depend on the person and the situation. Dining in a fancy restaurant will require you to make reservations well in advance and will cost you quite a bit, but the atmosphere and the meals are truly incredible. On the other hand, a home-cooked dinner is much more personal and allows you a lot of creative freedom, but unless you know your way around a kitchen, it can easily turn into a disaster. Whatever choice you make, you should give some thought to the choice of food and focus on dessert—all bad jokes and stupid comments about your partner being as sweet as chocolate aside, sugary snacks do actually cause hormones related to feeling pleasure to be released by the brain and will leave a wonderful taste in your mouth.

      5. Dress to impress.

      This point is very important. Whether you are a young couple just starting out your relationship or mature lovers who have gone through the good and the bad and stuck by each other for years, being presentable is a major part of showing that you care about another person.

      James Bond looking cool

        Although some may link this to basic primate grooming rituals, the fact is that trying to look your best shows the other person that you care about how they perceive you, which means that you are being emphatic and trying to please them. Of course, looking handsome as hell will also help ignite the passion between the two of you.

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        6. Make it a whole-day, multi-tiered experience rather than just dinner.

        Start off the romantic experience by meeting up a bit earlier in the day—for couples living together this means starting the day with a nice breakfast in bed—and going through a set of fun, romantic activities before eventually heading off to dinner and ending the day in the expertly decorated bedroom. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on hot air balloon rides across a valley, horseback riding or similar Hollywood clichés. It can be as simple as doing something you both enjoy, visiting a location where you first met or shared a special moment together or trying out some activities you always talked about, but never got the chance to do.

        7. Set up the perfect mood using correct lighting, decoration, music and scents.

        Chances are you are going to be ending the night somewhere quiet and private—back at your place or the hotel room if you’ve gone somewhere special for the occasion—so you are going to need to set the mood just right. You can use scented candles to provide romantic lighting and create a tantalizing aroma, or set up some beautiful decorations (think hearts, flowers, stuffed versions of her favorite animal, decorative pillows, etc). It’s best to set everything up early in the day so that it won’t take more than a few minutes get ready once the time comes (you should tell your date to wait a couple of minutes before coming up to the room so you can light the candles and make minor adjustments).

        8. Prepare a relaxing and exiting experience for your loved one back at the house.

        Once you have everything set up and ready, you will want to focus on making your partner feel good. This is where things like massage oils, wine, chocolate, fruit, music and comfortable clothes come into play. Have a romantic activity planed and give each other a few minutes to slip into more comfortable clothes before moving things to the next level. Slow dancing, followed by a glass or two of wine and some sweet snacks like cream-covered strawberries and chocolate-based desserts, then slowly transitioning into a massage on the bed seems to work wonders for just about anyone.

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        Setting the mood

          9. Have some fun in the bedroom and explore your erotic fantasies.

          This should be a very special night for the both of you, and after all the fun you had during your Valentine’s Day date, romantic gestures that brought you closer together and the gradual erotic build up in the privacy of your home, you will be eager to fall into each other’s arms and give in to your desires. Take this opportunity to get to know each other on a deeper level and explore your erotic fantasies. Be very open with one another and discuss your turn-ons. Don’t be afraid to engage in some role playing or other activities that your partner may enjoy, but take things slow and make sure you are both comfortable and happy with how things are going.

          10. Get up the next morning (or early afternoon), make breakfast and put on a romantic movie.

          Your Valentine’s Day date doesn’t end the moment you hit the hay after your romantic night. The morning after, or whichever part of the day you manage to get up at, should be a natural extension to the exiting romantic experience of the day before. Make a tasty breakfast, spend some time on presentation and serve it to your partner in bed. You can put on a romantic movie and enjoy it with your food and as you cuddle up together, forgetting about life’s woes for a few relaxing hours.

          There are certain things that can be applied to most people across the board when it comes to romance and great dates, but keep in mind that we are all different in some way and try to create the perfect Valentine’s Day experience based on your partner’s character, preferences and lifestyle. Use these tips as a good template, but be sure to customize some parts based on what you know about you significant other.

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          Ivan Dimitrijevic

          Ivan is the CEO and founder of a digital marketing company. He has years of experiences in team management, entrepreneurship and productivity.

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          Last Updated on July 8, 2020

          How to Say No When You Say Yes Too Often

          How to Say No When You Say Yes Too Often

          Do you say yes so often that you realize you aren’t really happy about this, wondering how to say no to people?

          For years, I was a serial people pleaser. Known as someone who would step up, I would gladly make time especially when it came to volunteering for certain causes. I proudly carried this role all through grade school, college, even through law school. For years, I thought saying “no” meant I would disappoint a good friend or someone I respected.

          But somewhere along the way, I noticed I wasn’t quite living my life. Instead, I seem to have created a schedule that was a strange combination of meeting the expectations of others, what I thought I should be doing, and some of what I actually wanted to do. The result? I had a packed schedule that left me overwhelmed and unfulfilled.

          It took a long while but I learned the art of saying no. Saying ‘no’ meant I no longer catered fully to everyone else’s needs and could make more room for what I really wanted to do. Instead of cramming too much in, I chose to pursue what really mattered. I started to manage my time more around my own needs and interests. When that happened, I became a lot happier. And guess what? I hardly disappointed anyone.

          The Importance of Saying No

          When you learn the art of saying ‘no,’ you begin to look at the world differently. Rather than seeing all of the things you could or should be doing (and aren’t doing), you start to look at how to say yes to what’s important.

          In other words, you aren’t just reacting to what life throws at you. You seek the opportunities that move you to where you want to be.

          Successful people aren’t afraid to say no. Oprah Winfrey considered one of the most successful women in the world confessed that it was much later in life when she learned how to say no. Even after she had become internationally famous, she felt she had to say yes to virtually everything. It was only when she realized that after years of struggling with saying no, I finally got to this question: “What do I want?”

          Being able to say no also helps you manage your time better.

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          Warren Buffett views no as essential to his success. He said,

          “The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

          When I made ‘no’ a part of my toolbox, I drove more of my own success focusing on fewer things and doing them well.

          How We Are Pressured to Say Yes

          It’s no wonder a lot of us find it hard to say ‘no.’

          From an early age, we are conditioned to say ‘yes.’ We said yes probably hundreds of time in order to graduate from high school and then get into college. We said yes to find work. We said yes get a promotion. We said yes to find love and then yes again to stay in a relationship. We said yes to find and keep friends.

          We say yes because it feels better to help someone. We say yes because it can seem like the right thing to do. We say yes because we think that is key to success. And we say yes because the request might come from someone who is hard to resist like the boss.

          And that’s not all. The pressure to say yes doesn’t just come from others. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves. At work, we say yes because we compare ourselves to others who seem to be doing more than we are. Outside of work, we say yes because we feel guilty we aren’t doing enough to spend time with family or friends.

          The message no matter where we turn is nearly always, “You really could be doing more.” The result? When people ask us for our time, we are heavily conditioned to say yes.

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          How to Say No Without Feeling Guilty

          Deciding to add the word ‘no’ to your toolbox is no small thing. Perhaps you already say ‘no’ but not as much as you would like. Maybe you have an instinct that if you were to learn the art of ‘no’ that you could finally create more time for things you care about. But let’s be honest, using the word ‘no’ doesn’t come easily for many people.

          The 3 Rules of Thumbs for Saying No

          1. You Need to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

          Let’s face it. It is hard to say no. Setting boundaries around your time especially you haven’t done it much in the past will feel awkward.

          2. You Are the Air Traffic Controller of Your Time

          Remember that you are the only one who understands the demands for your time. Think about it, who else knows about all of the demands on your time? No one. Only you are at the center of all of these requests. are the only one that understands what time you really have.

          3. Saying ‘No’ Means Saying ‘Yes’ to Something That Matters

          When we decide not to do something, it means we can say yes to something else. You have a unique opportunity to decide how you spend your precious time.

          6 Ways to Start Saying No

          Incorporating that little word ‘no’ into your life can be transformational. Turning some things down will mean you can open doors to what really matters. Here are some essential tips to learn the art of no:

          1. Check in With Your Obligation Meter

          One of the biggest challenges to saying ‘no’ is a feeling of obligation. Do you feel you have a responsibility to say yes and worry that saying no reflect poorly on you?

          Ask yourself whether you truly have the duty to say yes. Check your assumptions or beliefs about whether you carry the responsibility to say yes. Turn it around and instead ask what duty you owe to yourself.

          2. Resist the Fear of Missing out (FOMO)

          Do you have a fear of missing out (FOMO)? FOMO can follow us around in so many ways. At work, we volunteer our time because we fear we won’t move ahead. In our personal lives, we agree to join the crowd because FOMO even while we ourselves aren’t enjoying the fun.

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          Check in with yourself. Are you saying yes because of FOMO or because you really want to say yes? More often than not, running after fear doesn’t make us feel better.

          3. Check Your Assumptions About What It Means to Say ‘No’

          Do you dread the reaction you will get if you say no? Often, we say ‘yes’ because we worry about how others will respond or the consequences of saying no or because of the consequences. We may be afraid to disappoint others or think we will lose respect from others. We often forget how much we are disappointing ourselves along the way.

          Keep in mind that saying ‘no’ can be exactly what is needed to send the right message that you have limited time. In the tips below, you will see how to communicate your no in a gentle and loving way. You might disappoint someone initially but drawing a boundary can bring you the freedom you need so that you can give freely of yourself when you truly want to.

          4. When the Request Comes In, Sit on It

          Sometimes, when we are in the moment, we instinctively agree. The request might make sense at first. Or we typically have said yes to this request in the past.

          Give yourself a little time to reflect on whether you really have the time, or can do the task properly. You may decide the best option is to say ‘no.’ There is no harm in giving yourself the time to decide.

          5. Communicate Your ‘No’ with Transparency and Kindness

          When you are ready to tell someone no, communicate your decision clearly. The message can be open and honest to ensure the recipient that your reasons have to do with your limited time.

          Resist the temptation not to respond or communicate all. But do not feel obligated to provide a lengthy account about why you are saying no.

          A clear communication with a short explanation is all that is needed. I have found it useful to tell people that I have many demands and need to be careful with how I allocate my time. I will sometimes say I really appreciate that they came to me and for them to check in again if the opportunity arises another time.

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          6. Consider How to Use a Modified ‘No’

          If you are under pressure to say yes but want to say no, you may want to consider downgrading a “yes” to a “yes but…” giving you an opportunity to condition your agreement to what works best for you.

          Sometimes, the condition can be to do the task but not in the time frame that was originally requested. Or perhaps you can do part of what has been asked.

          Final Thoughts

          Beginning right now, you can change how you respond to requests for your time. When the request comes in, take yourself off autopilot where you might normally say yes.

          Use the request as a fresh request to draw a healthy boundary around your time. Pay particular attention to when you place certain demands on yourself. If you are the one placing the demand on yourself, try to evaluate the demand as if it were coming from somewhere else.

          Try it now. Say no to a friend who continues to take advantage of your goodwill. Or, draw the line with a workaholic colleague and tell them you will complete the project but not by working all weekend. Or, tell someone in your family you can’t loan them money again because they never paid you back the last time. You’ll find yourself much happier.

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          Featured photo credit: Chris Ainsworth via unsplash.com

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