After navigating Christmas and New Year’s as a party of one, your newly single or freshly uncoupled friend deserves a break. And yet, when Feb. 14 comes around, they may be hit with an even bigger wave of emotions and feelings of loneliness. If someone you know is getting divorced or just breaking up with a partner around Valentine’s Day, it can be tricky to know the best way to show them support.
Though you may want to encourage them to jumpstart their healing process, Carla Marie Manly, a clinical psychologist in Santa Rosa, California, and author of “Joy from Fear, ” urges you to be gentle and intentional with your gift-giving. They may not be up for a night on the town or a surprise vacation, and they may read into something like a prepaid spin class or new outfit.
“Avoid gifts that may increase a sense of expectation or feelings of worthlessness,” Manly previously told HuffPost, “or any gift that the person may find triggering or take as an insult.”
When in doubt, Manly recommends opting for gifts that bring comfort and ease — things your friend can use on their own time and won’t feel pressure to split with you or feign excitement over.
From bedsheets to lip masks, we’ve rounded up a selection of thoughtful but low-pressure gifts to give a heartbroken friend for Valentine’s Day.
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A cozy pajama set
We've written before about these adorable, affordable PJs from Target
and it feels like the perfect thing to give a newly single friend. The set is cute without being overtly sexy, is super lightweight and cozy and comes in seven colors in sizes XS through 4XL.
A super luxe cotton robe
A luxury bathroom is something your friend may not splurge on for themselves but will really appreciate. Parachute's dreamy cloud cotton robe is cozy but still chic, so they won't be embarrassed if they wear it all day. It comes in seven colors in sizes XS through 3XL.
A clitoris-centered sex toy
Giving a newly single person a sex toy is a "read the room" situation. If your pal is totally heartbroken and distraught about never finding love again, it may not be the time. However, if they're ready to enjoy some alone time and excited about exploring new things, introduce them to an air-pulse clitoral toy — like this one from Lovehoney — that's made to feel like oral sex.
A new set of sheets
You're probably not buying your friend an entirely new bed, but you can treat them to a set of breathable, cooling percale sheets to bring some new energy into their bedroom. This classic set from Brooklinen includes a flat sheet, a fitted sheet and two pillowcases. It's perfect for hot sleepers and comes in 13 patterns and colors.
Sterlingsilverjewls on Etsy
A friendship ring
If they've gotten used to wearing a wedding ring (or any jewelry from their ex), they may feel naked without it. Get a set of matching friendship rings so they remember how loved they are. This sterling silver ring is handmade in the U.S. and comes in sizes 4-10.
A sober group activity
"I'm a big believer in having a distraction," Anita A. Chlipala
, a licensed marriage and family therapist based in Chicago told HuffPost. "Baking together or cooking. Say, 'Hey, I'm coming over and bringing ingredients for cookies!'"
On their first solo Valentine's, your friend may not be in the mood to hit the town or even leave the house. This snickerdoodle cookie mix makes a soft, chewy apple cider-flavored cookie that reviewers say keeps a home smelling good for hours. All you need is eggs, butter and a good attitude.
Laneige lip mask
The Laneige lip mask is beloved on Amazon and is one of the items purchased most by HuffPost readers. It's a super nourishing luxury lip balm that's not sticky or overly pigmented or scented. For full-face makeup wearers and "just chapstick" people alike, it's a perfect "thinking of you" gift that someone will use every day.
Their hometown favorite food
Instead of asking them to brave happy couples at bars and restaurants, give your loved one food from their hometown or favorite city with Goldbelly,
an online food retailer that delivers food across the country from local restaurants.
A Hatch sunrise lamp and alarm clock
If your loved one is used to sleeping next to their partner, they may now have to recreate their entire bedtime and morning routine. This custom sunrise lamp and alarm clock from Hatch works as a bed lamp, speaker, clock and sunrise alarm that glows calming sunset light at night to help them unwind and sunny bright light in the morning to help them get up. It comes with a free trial of the Hatch app, which is full of meditations, soothing noises and other curated content.
A knit weighted blanket
A weighted blanket can provide some sensory comfort and help your loved one sleep through the night. This gorgeous weighted blanket is super cozy and chic and comes in five colors and five sizes.
A silk eye mask and pillowcase
Sticking with the bed theme, a newly solo pal will drool over this pillowcase and eye mask set made from organic Mulberry silk in 21 colors. It will feel soft and cool on their face and will keep their skin and hair happy.
A collection of comfort items
Chlipala suggested gifts inspired by the Danish concept of "Hygge,"
or coziness. Think candles, socks, blankets, soft things, tea and anything that makes you feel and think calm.
This "Hygge box" includes tea, cozy knit socks, a scented wax candle and a vintage journal.
A new toothbrush
When they're used to having a partner's brush next to their own, seeing a solo brush may bring a flood of emotions. Get your loved one a new, stand-alone brush that looks great on its own. This comes in 10 fun colors with six replacement heads.
A new morning mug
If your loved one is used to sharing coffee with their ex, they're likely in need of an overhaul to their java routine. Get them a fun, colorful mug to help them create a new perfect solo moment.
An easy touch glass tumbler
When dealing with heartache, they may not be drinking enough water. This cheery tumbler comes in 39 colors, is soft to the touch and easy to carry around. It's a sweet, practical Valentine’s Day gift that can hopefully inspire some healthy habits.
Quiet solo activities
According to Manly, your loved one may feel pressure to seem OK or to keep their negative emotions inside. Gifting them a quiet, solo activity to do at home like a puzzle or some needlepoint gives them an activity to do without needing to perform happiness or any other emotion. Hopefully, it will also inspire them to get off social media for a few hours.
An electric kettle and calming tea
Chlipala says that drinking alcohol when you're sad will likely make you feel sadder. Instead of a bottle of wine or spirits, she suggests grabbing some tea or cocoa. Pair it with this adorable vintage-inspired kettle to make preparation quick and clean.
DIY candle kit
Another sober group activity? Making candles! This set comes with everything you need from wicks to wax to make six, scented candles in colorful containers. Play with the colors and smells together and keep everyone's hands busy for the night.
Airbnb gift card
In the movies, packs of friends always head off for a surprise getaway. If your loved one is spontaneous (or works remotely), they may love a staycation or weekend trip. In lieu of trying to fit a trip into their schedule, send them an Airbnb gift card. That way, they can choose where they want to go and when.
"People think that gift cards are lazy gifts. But sometimes they're the most respectful gift," LeslieBeth Wish, a licensed clinical psychotherapist in Sarasota, Florida, and author of “Training Your Love Intuition
,” previously told HuffPost
A hot meal from GrubHub
On Feb. 14, your loved one may enjoy having a hot meal from their favorite restaurant sent right to their door. To have a meal on their own time, send a GrubHub gift card that they can use when they please.
Tickets to a live event
If your loved one’s favorite band or comedian is having a Valentine's Day show, they may love to get out of the house and go with you. You can also send them a gift card to StubHub, so they can buy tickets to a life event on their own time.
"Wow, No Thank You" by Samantha Irby
In the wake of heartbreak, your loved one could likely use a laugh. Collections of humor essays and funny short stories are quick reads they won't want to put down. Writer and comedian Samantha Irby's "Wow, No Thank You" is endearing, relatable and gasping-for-air funny.
Grab a copy from Bookshop, an e-commerce retailer where you can shop online from your favorite local brick-and-mortar bookstores.
Maude bath salts
Rather than a perfume-y bath bomb filled with dyes and weird chemicals, get them a set of hand-harvested salt crystals from the southern Dead Sea, in a container they'll want to display.