How to Make a Stranger Smile on Valentine’s Day
Handing out heart-shaped cards and sappy love poems on February 14th might have ended for you in grade school, but one organization is working to change that—one stranger at a time.
Whether you’re single or in a relationship, Valentine’s Day comes with a lot of pressure. Pressure to appropriately express yourself to the one you love. Pressure to prove that you are okay on your own. How freeing would it be to label a bunch of cards “From: Me” “To: You” and hand them out at random? No pressure, no expectations, just a simple way to acknowledge someone else’s existence.
In 2013, Erika Anderson did just that: She handed out hundreds of valentines to strangers on her commute and in her local coffee shop, and by the end of the day, realized she wanted to make it an annual event that others could be involved in as well. The following year, she launched Army of Lovers, a website that sends you materials you can use to craft your own heartfelt creation to distribute to someone in your area.
Anderson’s simple instructions for delivery are as follows: 1. Make eye contact. 2. Say, “Happy Valentine’s Day” and hand over your card. 3. Walk away. 4. Repeat. To date, the Army of Lovers has given out 5,000 valentines in eight different countries. Join the Army and help spread the love.
To receive valentine-making materials in time for the holiday, order them at armyoflovers.co by the morning of February 10 (those outside the US need to order by February 6).
Don’t want to make your own cards? Check out a few of our favorite pre-made options here.