Habits you can reform – and ones you can’t

Habits you can reform — and ones you can’t

If he plays music too loudly, let it go. But you could rehab other unsavory behaviors.

For the most part, men treat manners like women treat football teams — we don’t know much about them and we’re not pressed to learn. But if your guy’s less than couth, it doesn’t mean you’re stuck with an ape. Men can change — just not too much at once. If your guy’s social skills need a minor touch-up, here’s how to handle it. But if his offensive behavior always puts you in a tight situation, trade him in before he takes you down with him.

Forgive and forget

These types of blunders are more about personal taste than bad manners, so try to shrug them off instead of nagging to get your way:

You don’t like how he dresses.
He plays music too loudly in the car.
He eats too quickly/noisily/unhealthily.
He doesn’t turn down the TV when you get a phone call.
You disagree on how much to tip.

There are ways to change his behavior, like offering him a trade of something he wants in exchange for minding his manners. “My boyfriend refused to tip more than 15 percent,” says Mary Stevens from Oak Bluffs, MA. “So we made a pact. If I think the tip should be bigger, he puts in extra cash, and I have to give him a back rub.” But bargaining isn’t necessary. Sure, you could struggle to change the idiosyncrasies that make your man an individual, but he may resent you for it later.

So unless his tweaks cause major conflicts (like if they affect your values, relationships with others, or well-being), let them ride. “When you have to do favors to make a point, you’re just making the best out of being bribed,” says advice columnist Harriette Cole, co-host of “Pulse” on XM Satellite Radio’s Take Five channel and author of Choosing Truth: Living an Authentic Life. “You can live with a 15 percent tip.”

Fix him up by toning him down

By any definition, certain behaviors are impolite, so if your guy’s an offender, you can help him become appropriate. Some specific examples of when you can indeed jump in:

He curses too much.
His table manners are suspect.
He makes jokes about your relationship to your friends.
He makes no effort not to control his bodily sounds in public.

These types of behaviors happen because he doesn’t know any better. In situations like these it’s not what you say, but how you say it. Be honest. If your man is a keeper, he won’t object to a little refining. “Give him a gentle course in manners so he can flow with you wherever you go,” says Cole. Some specifics: Don’t embarrass him by calling him out in front of people. Wait for a moment when you are alone together or can at least take him aside someplace where others can’t see or hear you. It’s not what you say but how you say it.

Be honest but use a gentle, non-patronizing tone. A line that never fails is, “Darling, please listen to me for a second. I want to help you see something you may not see. I think you may not have realized how it came across tonight when you were (cursing about your boss/joking about our love life/burping a lot). I think it gave people the wrong impression about you…” Now that you’ve told him what went wrong, he can do damage control — or you two can figure out how to fix it together. If you think he owes someone an apology, don’t be afraid to tell him so. “If he loves you, he should have noticed you don’t talk or behave a certain way, and if you’re meant to be, he’ll take the chance to redeem himself,” promises Cole.

Abandonship

Forget trying to make a silk purse out of this sow’s ear. Certain behaviors are indicative of deeper problems that won’t be solved by a simple conversation:

He’s rude to people he doesn’t know.
He always has to be right.
He’s immature for his age.
He belittles you in front of people.
He’s jealous of your friendships.

This bum from Bumsville is the reason fathers are overprotective. It may seem romantic to date a bad boy who needs fixin’, but this character is broke beyond repair. “I dated a guy who didn’t like my friends, especially the guys,” says Sarah Phillips, 27 from San Francisco, CA. “He couldn’t give me a concrete reason why he didn’t like them, so I dumped him rather than giving up my friends.”

It’s tempting to stick with a bad boy, but don’t delude yourself, he’s not going to change. And possessive or disrespectful behaviors are often the first signs that a guy will become emotionally and even physically abusive. Bottom line: You’re too good for him. “It doesn’t matter how cute — or generous — he is, if he doesn’t have a clue about how to talk to you with respect, he doesn’t deserve a second chance,” says Cole. “He is the way he is. Jump ship before you’re locked in.”

The right way to compliment your date

The right way to compliment your date

Cheap flattery will get you nowhere, but original praise can do wonders.

You’re face to face with a woman who has you dazzled… and tongue-tied. Learn the right way to flatter her from our pair of etiquette experts.

The statement, “Gee, Suzie, you look nice today,” used to arouse giggly tingles on the playground, but as a post-pubescent suitor, your compliments better be more focused. Warm praise can defrost those first icy moments of early dating, as well as subtly advertise your attraction. Later, compliments are standard daily fare for keeping a relationship fresh. How do you spice it up? Allow us to share nine secrets:

1. Offer praise that’s original, not stale.
A dating-scene veteran with luxuriant locks has heard dozens of times how lovely her hair is. Either craft a new quip (“Your red and gold highlights make me long for autumn”) or else bypass obvious compliments in favor of lesser-named qualities (“Your posture is flawless… do you take ballet?”).

2. Look for cues.
Where has your date invested her energies in preparing for your time together? A freshly-painted French manicure begs for recognition. Also, when someone has clearly invested their time or money in an area of interest, you’ve got a ready-made subject to compliment. “Wow… that’s quite a collection of snow globes.” This particular phrasing has the secondary advantage of making an observation without actually saying whether you like it or not.

Read more “The right way to compliment your date”

Modern Dating Rules

Modern Dating Rules

First, forget about all the clueless first date advice you’ve ever heard before. Next, get ready to blow him away… and actually enjoy yourself while you’re at it. Nothing calls bad advice, as a first appointment – bring this, that, and do not in any case say that – all in order to capture a guy you’re not even sure you like… yet.

Not only do these rules say the opposite of pleasure (and having fun is not the point here?), But they can also end up being turned against. Who wants to look rigid or eager to please because you follow a certain set of guidelines rather lame than simply being yourself? What are – trust us – is always more attractive than any script.

“The best strategy for a great first date is to go into this in order to simply have fun, instead of harboring an agenda to win,” said Lionel Tiger, Ph.D., a Professor Charles Darwin Anthropology at Rutgers University and author of The Decline of Males. “That way, you can also meet as tenacious and carefree, that are inherently attractive qualities.”

Living in the present

If you clicked on this guy and when you met, it is tempting to jump into the future mental – can it be that? Stop there, and curb your expectations or you will not have fun. “If you put too much importance to the meeting, you’ll spend the whole evening to assess how it goes and stressing about whether you’ll see it again,” said Sheenah Hankin, PhD, a psychotherapist in New York and author of confidence. “This prevents you from fully enjoying what is happening in the present.” It also means that you are not committed – or to engage – as you may have.

Remember that only one night, and then just relax and let go. “A first date is an experience,” said Tiger. “Adopt a laissez-faire that it would work on or it might not.” And, hey, even if ultimately sparks are not there the night n is not a wash. You’ll probably come away with new insights or interesting story to add to your repertoire.

Be honest disarmingly

It goes without saying (not) What it does not tell her about the weird conversation you had with your ex last week or disclosure that you are PMSing. But if you talk to a guy with the same ease that you unattended when you are chatting with a friend, relax and things will get better. It provides the date does not appear to be an interview, “says Hankin. So, tell a funny moment that happened at work earlier in the day or describe an experience that your crazy friend recently through a former boyfriend.

We naturally trust and feel closer to people who are open, according to Hankin. She suggests trying a technique called negative revelation: Research has shown that disclosure of a minor weakness of yours (that you’re afraid of heights, for example), others like you and around you feel at ease because they see you more human.

The Last Song Fun Facts

The Last Song Fun Facts

Which Came First? “The Last Song” marks the first time Nicholas Sparks has written a screenplay before he completed the novel. The book, which is Sparks’ longest novel ever, debuted as #1 on both the USA Today and New York Times bestseller lists.

What’s in a Name? Since Sparks was writing the screenplay with Miley Cyrus in mind, he allowed her to choose the name “Ronnie” for her character.

The Boy From Oz All-American boy Will Blakelee is played by an Aussie heartthrob. Liam Hemsworth is already well known in his native Australia as the star of the television series “The Elephant Princess” and “Neighbors,” as well as part of a trio of acting siblings that includes his older brothers Chris and Luke.

A Fine Kettle of Fish The aquarium scene between Ronnie and Will was filmed at the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, which houses more aquatic creatures than any other aquarium in the world in tanks containing 8 million gallons of water. Liam Hemsworth was certified in scuba diving especially for the shoot and that really is him – and Miley – in the shark tank.

Back to School Liam Hemsworth’s scuba lessons weren’t the only learning experiences on this film. Miley Cyrus and Greg Kinnear, who both play gifted concert pianists, had never tickled the ivories before. Bobby Coleman and Greg Kinnear studied the art of stain glass window making with a local expert for their “father and son” project, and a former Olympic volleyball player was brought in to coach the actors for their beach scenes.

The Last Song Fun Facts

No Augtographs, Please The crucial scene in which newly-hatched loggerhead turtles make their way into the ocean was originally slated to be done with CGI, but at the last minute, the filmmakers decided to use live turtles. The 24 hatchlings that made their film debut in “The Last Song” arrived on set courtesy of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and were allowed to make their way out to sea. The two-inch long hatchlings will eventually reach three feet in length and weight up to 300 pounds.

“When I Look at You” The song that became central to this story was already scheduled to be released when the filmmakers realized it had all the heartfelt emotion they were looking for. “The Last Song” producer Adam Shankman directed the music video for the song.

Child Star Twelve-year-old Bobby Coleman started acting when he was only five, appearing opposite Oscar nominee Diane Lane in “Must Love Dogs.” In his young career he’s worked with a who’s who of Hollywood luminaries, including Oscar winner Frances McDormand, Jennifer Anniston, Ray Liotta, Michael Keaton, Catherine Keener, Minnie Driver, Joan Cusack and John Cusack.

Is That Who I Think It Is? Miley Cyrus surprised the patrons of the Tybee Island restaurant Stingray’s by dropping by from time to time to serenade them to the accompaniment of her own acoustic guitar.

Home Sweet Home “The Last Song” is set in Nicholas Sparks’ home state of North Carolina, but for the shoot, Tybee Island, near Savannah, Georgia stands in. Tybee means “salt” in the language of the indigenous Euchee people, and there is a large salt marsh on the western side of the island. Two centuries ago, Tybee was a popular hideout for pirates on the run. Today, it is a thriving resort with a picturesque lighthouse that was the tallest structure in America when it was built in 1732.

A House to Remember The filmmakers were able to secure a colonial estate built by one of the first English settlers in Georgia to use as the Blakelee mansion.

How Hot Was It? During some of the volleyball scenes, the sand was so hot, the players had to tape protective coverings to the bottoms of their feet.

The Ultimate Souvenir Greg Kinnear was so impressed by the beauty and workmanship of the stained glass window made for the film, he commissioned one for his own home from the same craftsman.

Old Friends “The Last Song” producer Adam Shankman directed the 2002 film “A Walk to Remember,” based on the Nicholas Sparks bestseller and starring Shane West and Mandy Moore.

Famly Fun Kelly Preston is a friend of the Cyrus family and she joined the cast when Miley Cyrus personally asked her to play Ronnie’s mother. Her daughter Ella was thrilled Kelly agreed to appear in the film, because she’s an avid fan of Cyrus.

Alma Mater More than 25 years ago, Nicholas Sparks and his “The Last Song” co-writer Jeff van Wie were college roommates at the University of Notre Dame where they both were on the track team. They’ve remained friends since then, but van Wie had no idea that Sparks was a successful novelist until spying a fellow traveler at the airport reading one of his old friend’s books.

Related Link: The Last Song Movie Full Production Notes