Lauren M.G. Burt: Advice for creating more love in your life

Published on February 7th, 2014 | by Lauren M.G. Burt

Love is an essential part of life, but it becomes especially prominent this month with the arrival of Valentine’s Day. Singletons dread the referenced, “Hallmark holiday,” while newlyweds bathe in the glow of new marriage and established couples may choose to ignore the day altogether.

This year, think of Cupid’s holiday as an invitation to actively love all people in your life, refine the romance you already have or open your mind to someone new.

Refresh: When you look your best, you feel your best. A new outfit, fresh manicure, workout, haircut or massage does wonders for the soul and well-being. Freshen up before a big date or an anniversary dinner. Dress to impress for your significant other when they least expect it. Looking good creates confidence for all situations. Making time for self-improvement makes you a better friend, partner or potential date.

Socialize: Get out and get active. Join a fitness group, sign up for a wine tasting, volunteer for a cause near-and-dear to your heart — do something to meet like-minded people. Those coupled up can have adventures by running a race together or taking an art class. Follow your passions to create positive relationships when socializing with those that have similar interests. Make an effort to make connections.

Dates: On the first date, always present your best self, be respectful and keep an open mind. If a romantic date isn’t in the cards, create a spa date with friends, go to a movie or museum exhibit. For those in long-term relationships — from years to decades — go on dates! Dating should never end in a relationship. Recall the days of talking on the phone for hours, hand-written love notes and waiting for a date to pick you up —enjoy those memories by recreating them.

Communicate: For all relationships, take a few minutes to pick up the phone to call your partner, best friend or family — a real voice on the other end means so much more. Always call to ask someone out on a date, especially for the first time. A text or social media message is too impersonal. Technology may assist a conversation, but it should not be the first vehicle of communication in romance.

Give: A gift of love doesn’t need to be packaged in a heart-shaped box or expensive. Just as love comes in all forms, give uniquely. Bring homemade treats to your office, take a friend out for a Valentines’ Day lunch, finish errands for your spouse or mail your Mom a card. Show those in your life how much you care about them.

Our lives may not resemble a Jane Austen novel, but the etiquette of love applies to all, not just in the month of February. Regardless of one’s relationship status, love and relationships are key components to a full life. Give more than you get and love always finds a way in.

About the Author

Lauren M.G. Burt is an avid collector of etiquette books. She is the 2012 Juice Young Professional of the Year, past president of the Junior League of Des Moines and an anthropologist of modern day manners.Email your modern-day etiquette questions to Lauren M.G. Burt at You may see your query answered in the next column.

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