The new film Southside with You chronicles the courtship of President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle. Here are five dating tips I gleaned from the movie:
Plan multiple activities
The more relaxed time you spend with a new love interest the better. Try to do something that allows you get to know each other. For Barack and Michelle, it was an art museum, where Barack talked about Good Times and the artist Ernie Barnes. They also took a walk in the park, went to a community meeting, and saw a movie. You’ll get a better sense of a person when you see them in multiple settings. As a bonus, your date will be impressed that you put so much time into planning your time together.
Be yourself no matter what
Whether you drive a beat up car, were homecoming queen, or make a million a year, be who you are. It’s good advice because it’s true. Why go to the Four Seasons for dinner if you have a Burger King budget? You won’t be able to keep it up. In the movie, Barack drives a car that has a rusted out hole in the floor big enough for a foot to go through. He doesn’t apologize for it. He is a student. It’s what he has, not who he is. Which is more important in the long run?
Keep an open mind and look for the good points
It’s easy to find the negatives in people. In Southside, Michelle kept harping on the outing not being a date to the point that it was annoying. Barack offered to take her home but he didn’t really want to because he caught glimpses of her passion, intelligence, and free spirit. Your love life will be more successful if you too take time to find out what makes your dates unique, interesting, and special.
Show up and show out
Make it easy for the other person to get to know you. Let them see what makes you unique. For Barack, it was his ability to reach people. For Michelle, it was her ability to let go when the music moved her. Too often we are so worried about being on our best behavior that we forget to let the other person into our world.
Let go of being right
You might find that you and your date have differing viewpoints. Don’t waste time trying to change their outlook, instead try to understand where they are coming from. You may even learn something. In the movie, the couple disagreed about whether or not they were on a date. Rather than continually debate the issue, Barack let Michelle hold her belief. It was ice cream, rather than discussion that changed her opinion and led to that first kiss.