“Be practical and realistic,” said relationship expert Dr. Michelle Callahan in a CBS interview. Since couples might have differing opinions about what to expect on Valentine’s Day, Dr. Michelle says to “talk about it ahead of time,” so that you can meet a compromise and optimize your chances at a successful, romantic day.
“My roommate's ex-boyfriend gave her a children's book called "What You Are to Me." It was the last Valentine's Day before they broke up and that pretty much pushed the relationship over the edge,” said Ally Betker, a student at Boston University. “It wasn't a personal present, it didn't reflect anything that had to do with her or the relationship and it was just super cheesy; like, seriously, a picture book? Gag.”
Just as romantic clichés should be avoided, so should presents designed for children: girls don’t actually expect the perfect guy; they just want something that says you care.
“I think the ultimate romantic gesture is not trying to be romantic, but rather being thoughtful,” said Meghan Kavanaugh, a student at Boston University. That isn’t to say that a night out to dinner or even a box of chocolates is an unconditional no-no, but the focus, she said, should remain on the idea behind the gift or date.
“One of my favorite Valentine's Day memories was just walking along the Long Wharf with my boyfriend at the time,” she recalled. “It was a meaningful place for us so we just hung out and enjoyed each other's company.”
Kavanaugh’s date proved a basic rule: simplicity is key. Overthinking a gift can often send the wrong message or shoot too far past the line between a phony fairytale and a genuinely romantic day.