10 Dating Lessons I Learned From Nicholas Sparks Movies

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You can gain infinite wisdom watching enough Nicholas Sparks movies. Don’t give up on true life, you can always grow to be a better person, if you feel you’ve just met your soul-mate, that probably means they’ll soon be dead. But they can also give you a lot of dating tips and ideas. I would have never known how much fun temporary tattoos are on a first date without A Walk to Remember or understood the romantic implications of sharpies and Chucks without The Last Song. Here are some of the tips I’ve picked up.

1. Do Your Homework (A Walk to Remember)
Taking your crush to a fancy restaurant is sweet. Agreeing to a dance in spite of your two left feet is even sweeter. But it’s helping her cross off two of her life’s ambitions that really seals the deal.

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2. Don’t Underestimate a Grand Gesture (Dear John)
Jumping into the ocean after a purse isn’t the only extreme act of chivalry that can impress someone. It could be saving them the last slice of pizza when it’s your favorite kind or getting up at an ungodly hour on a Sunday so they can have the paper or a donut when they get up. Anything that shows your able to put them first sometimes.

3. Allow for the Possibility of “Our Song” (The Notebook)
Having a song for you and your girlfriend or boyfriend as a couple is something that has to happen organically. That doesn’t mean you can’t help it along by playing a romantic playlist in the car or going to a club you know is bound to play a couple of your favorites. Just be careful or you could end up dancing to Party Rock Anthem on your 50th aniversary.

4. Texting will Never Be as Romantic as Letters (Dear John)
Sending a romantic message doesn’t mean you have to write an epic love letter. It could be a cute post it note left on the bed stand or a little card left in the mail box. Just as long as it’s something that can be saved longer than a two year contract.

5. Don’t Forget about Arts and Crafts (A Walk to Remember)
Gift buying is tough, and making something by hand is even tougher. Breaking out your tools or your glitter glue can seem a little like middle school shop class, but an hour working with your hands shows more care than an hour waiting at line at Urban Outfitters.

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6. How You Ask Them Out Matters (The Notebook)
You still remember the first “will you be my girlfriend, check yes or no note” you ever got but you probably won’t remember the last five guys who casually worked getting beer after work into the conversation. Threatening suicide probably isn’t as romantic in real life as it is in the movies, but you can still put a little thought into the invite, even if it’s adding, “I know how much you like Italian food….”

7.Plan More Altruistic Activity Dates (The Last Song)
Going out for a game of mini golf can lead to a lot of funny ball-fetching stories, but volunteering at an animal shelter together will get you some good karma and a chance to bond over a good work. Pick something you’re both passionate about. You’ll be reminded of what you have in common and nothing is as attractive as someone who cares about something as much as you do.

8.Don’t Keep Secrets (Message in a Bottle)
Secrets might not always lead to a break up and a reunion interrupted by death, but they always lead to stress in a relationship. Come clean early and often, from Facebook stalking her ex to dropping his toothbrush in the toilet. It’s better to confess then to be caught.

9.Stick Up For Them (A Walk to Remember)
There’s a huge difference between teasing your guy about his love of chick flicks and letting your friends bash him for it. Starting a fist fight to defend their honor isn’t
required, but letting other people know you’re on their side is. You’d never want it to get back to them that they were being roasted behind their back and you were a part of it.

Related: The Best Rom Coms for Guys
10. Turn Off Your Phone During a Date (Nights in Rodanthe) You might not have the money or time to spend a weekend in complete isolation with your date but you can at least isolate yourself from your twitter followers and your text-happy roommate. Hearing a constant buzzing from your phone breaks the mood and will end up making your date feel like you’re not as interested in her as your friends’ status updates.