If you are anything like me, when you are unlucky in love, you look at your DVD collection and reach for the sappiest chick flick you own. You escape into a world full of unlikely meet-cutes, where women are chased by unnaturally perfect men, and where steamy kisses in the rain are an everyday occurrence.
Not once has one of these movies offered me with any kind of comfort or motivation. If anything, they just make me feel downright depressed.
But then I discovered the world of the 80s teen movie, where the characters are just like you. They have their insecurities, their woes, and their journey to find true love is far from smooth. This sounds far from motivating, right? Well, you’d be wrong!
[Read: How to create your own perfect romantic meet cute effortlessly!]
10 motivating dating *and life* tips you can learn from an 80s teen movie
I found that I have learnt more about love and life from these movies than any chick flick or self help book. Yes, the characters have their struggles, but they truly learn from them and you should too!
Here are a few lessons that you can find in most teen movies of the 80s, and they’d definitely help you see the perfect mystery and allure of love and dating in a whole new way!
#1 Don’t be afraid to make a gesture
Take a look at a rather baby-faced John Cusack in Cameron Crowe’s “Say Anything”. If you haven’t seen the film, you may well have seen the famous clip of Cusack’s character lifting a boom box above his head blaring Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes” outside the window of his love interest. Now that is true romance.
Throw caution to the wind and tell your crush how you really feel by making a romantic gesture. Actions speak louder than words, after all.
But remember, timing is key. It is probably best to utilise this tip after at least a few dates, as there is a definite risk of looking overeager or creepy. Tailor your gesture to your date’s interests, be sure to steer clear of anything that makes you too uncomfortable *however, something that shows some disregard for your own pride sort of adds to the charm*, and let your personality shine through. If they don’t appreciate your gesture, maybe your connection isn’t as strong as you thought, and that person just isn’t right for you. But if John Cusack is anything to go by, it can pay off big time. [Read: 25 really romantic ideas to make anyone melt!]
#2 Look closer to home
Perhaps, in your search for that perfect someone, you are disregarding someone close to you who you could really build a connection with. Every time I watch John Hughes’ classic “Pretty In Pink”, I always wonder why the protagonist, Andie, doesn’t end up with her best friend Duckie (played by the hilarious Jon Cryer). He is charming, caring, they have common interests and they are simply perfect for each other! Regardless of this, she completely overlooks him. Do you have a Duckie in your life?
#3 Don’t limit yourself to your usual “type”
One thing that 80s teen movies show over and over again is that quite often, you can form connections with people you would never have expected to. Perhaps, you are too fixated on finding someone who is just your “type” and in doing so, are narrowing your chances of finding that special someone.
“The Breakfast Club” is possibly the most inspiring 80s teen movie out there. A group of teenagers who could not be more different are forced to spend Saturday detention together. Before you know it, unlikely connections are springing up left, right and centre. The jock ends up with the basket case… the princess ends up with the criminal… And there’s a lesson to be learnt here. Don’t disregard someone who you might not normally connect with. Broaden your horizons and don’t forget that opposites quite often attract. [Read: Do opposites actually attract each other or repel each other away?]
#4 Life’s short… Enjoy yourself!
In the words of Ferris, from “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
Are you concentrating your efforts too much on looking for that special someone? More often than not, if you make a conscious effort to have fun and enjoy yourself, people will be attracted to you in return. We naturally gravitate towards positive and fun loving people, so try putting your search on hold and simply enjoy life instead! I’m not saying you should take your parents’ Ferrari on a joy ride or dance around on a parade float à la Ferris Bueller, but you might be surprised at the connections that pop up as a result of letting go and just having fun! [Read: 11 steps to fall in love with yourself and be a much better YOU]
#5 Don’t assume someone is too good for you
Samantha Baker from “Sixteen Candles” is a High School sophomore who has a serious crush on Jake Ryan (a senior, leader of the popular crowd and all round hottie). She thought she’d never stand a chance. But lo and behold, all it took was him finding out how she felt and he was hers by the end of the movie.
I’m not saying everyone will always be as lucky as Samantha, but if there’s someone in your life who you have dismissed because you believe they are too good for you, remember, you don’t know until you try! It might not pay off, but if you don’t act, you’ll always be left wondering if it could have worked out differently. You may well end up with your very own Jake Ryan. [Read: Are good looking girls actually nicer or are they just mean?]
#6 It’s all about self-confidence
Ferris Bueller from “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” is one of the most liked kids at school, and why is that? He has confidence, kindness, a sense of humor and courage in his convictions, not to mention a beautiful girlfriend. His best friend Cameron, on the other hand, has allowed others to dominate his life and make decisions for him, and consequently is not at all lucky in love or life.
So the trick here is to be more like Ferris Bueller. Have as much confidence in yourself as you can muster. You feel like you can do anything, talk to anyone, and everyone will want to be your friend.
#7 Make the most of every situation… Even bad ones
So Saturday detention was far from an ideal situation for “The Breakfast Club” gang, but I’m sure none of them would have expected to leave with new friends, let alone new love interests!
Maybe you’ve been held back late at the office, or you’re stuck in a waiting room for an hour or more. Take a look around, are there people who are in the same situation as you? Maybe there’s an attractive co-worker you’ve never had the chance to talk to. There are more opportunities in everyday life to meet new people than you think. [Read: The art of making small talk without feeling awkward]
#8 Don’t rely on technology to communicate
There was no such thing as Facebook, texting or instant messaging in the 1980’s. But guess what? People got on just fine! When Jake Ryan from “Sixteen Candles” decided he would give Samantha a chance, what did he do? He picked up the phone!
Using technology to communicate is convenient and requires minimal effort. But maybe you should try picking up the phone to organize a date, rather than sending a quick text. It shows your beau that you’re willing to break down the communication barrier and make a real effort to talk to them.
#9 Make yourself approachable
If anyone is an example of how body language can affect your chances of meeting new people, it’s Alison from “The Breakfast Club”. At the beginning of the movie, she’s hunched over her desk with her dark hair covering her face. And low and behold, 90 minutes of viewing time later, her shoulders are back, her hair’s off her face, and she has a new boyfriend. As if by magic.
Are you presenting yourself in the best way possible? Open up and use body language to show people that you are friendly and ready to interact. Brush your hair out of your face and put yourself out there! [Read: 10 easy ways to be approachable and look really good while trying to get attention]
#10 Don’t let anyone doubt your chances
Not only did Samantha Baker doubt her own chances with Jake Ryan in “Sixteen Candles”, but she was far from motivated by her best friend, Randy.
“Jake Ryan? He doesn’t even know you exist!… He’s ideal for sure, but forget it!”
She was probably eating her words the next day when she turned up to school in Jake’s Porsche, that’s for sure!
Negativity is the last thing your confidence needs. If someone doubts your chances of finding love, mark it down as jealousy and prove them wrong!
Next time you are in need of a little motivation in the love department, forget the picture perfect world of new chick flicks and beautiful people.
[Read: The guide to planning a picture perfect and romantic movie date]
And head back to the 80s. Their sense of style may be questionable, their mobiles may be the size of bricks, and their hair may be permed… but there are some dating lessons to be learnt, so get out your pen and take note!
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