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How To Deal With Bragging Co-workers On Valentine's Day

I feel like I should drop the sarcasm and be happy-happy-joy-joy about Valentine's Day, but I also see it as my duty to the Internet generation to cover the story angles mainstream business editors might not touch with a ten-foot long red pen. So let's put on our ironic t-shirts and plan ahead for your co-workers' incessant bragging on Valentine's Day!

It's February 14 and you're trying to get some work done when suddenly your co-worker yells, "MY HUSBAND JUST SENT ME A STUFFED ANIMAL FLOWER BOUQUET! HOW CUUUUUUTE!" She opens the card, reads it and fawns over her potted ursine garden before snapping a photo to upload to Facebook.

But it doesn't stop there, because other women in the office (let's face it, it's usually women) are streaming over to say, "Awwww, how beeeaaaautiful!"

Except for the women who are truly single, just broke up with someone, are in a relationship but don't make a big deal about it, or are in the middle of a divorce and just want this "special day" to be over. They want these loved-up female co-workers to put away the stupid velvet bears and get back to work, because they're not focused, they're not productive, they're embarrassing in a very stereotypical way, and they're making all kinds of mistakes today. If you like me then you should of put a binder ring on it.

Maybe you're a single guy in the same boat, or you feel incredible pressure all day to come up with the "perfect gift" by the time you get home from work. It's hard to focus on your job today. The problem is, you just can't find the perfect gift at the corner mini-mart and you don't have three month's salary saved up.

But your girlfriend has watched her weight in Jared commercials over the last month and you're not getting off the hook anytime soon. She says you're her rock, now give her one already! You made a dinner reservation, right? Talk about pressure. My condolences.

Take heart that you'll be far from alone. All the love-lorn employees will be alone, together as the Valentine's Day ritual plays out in workplaces across America next week, and the lawyers at law firm Perkins and Janis are here to offer some heartfelt advice.

"Listening to co-workers and friends talk about their romantic plans may sound like nails on a chalkboard and watching the umpteenth delivery of red roses may have you reaching for Cupid's arrow for a much different reason than intended," counsels attorney Amy Perkins. "Be patient with yourself and put yourself first."

Perkins and Janis encourage clients to determine their comfort level and take the necessary steps to protect themselves. If the holiday is causing stress or depression, seek out single friends or avoid triggers such as the office lunch room or other gossip areas. If the thought of being at work on Valentine's Day without a "valentine" is seriously upsetting, take the day off. Most significantly, the attorneys recommend counseling or a support group for those who are feeling lonely or depressed. Finding new activities (or re-discovering old ones!) to occupy yourself will not only keep you busy but will introduce you to new people. And lastly, don't be afraid to tell someone you do not want to listen to their Valentine's Day plans.

That's right, my friend. Saying "just shut up already!" can be a weapon in your Sweethearts arsenal, because you'll need to "protect" yourself from your co-workers on February 14. This "us vs. them" mindset makes sense amid the high divorce rate, the endless loop of Jared ads, and all the unfunny episodes of HBO's Girls.

And if a bragging co-worker asks you, intrepid single co-worker, if you have any "special plans tonight" or says that she has "someone for you to meet," you have my permission to say something sarcastic or to simply shake your head and walk away. All is fair in love and work.

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