A year ago, to the date, I had written an article about one of my favorite films, (500) Days of Summer. The article highlighted 5 things that I learned, thanks to the film. I seem to learn, or catch, something new, every time I watch it. So, now I’m back, to give you 5 MORE things, that I’ve learned, from the Marc Webb classic.
(1) Don’t try and change anyone’s mind.
A pretty solid argument could be made for Tom Hansen, that the reason he continued to believe that he and Summer would work out was because he thought he could change her mind. For example at the karaoke bar, she says she doesn’t believe in love, and that it’s a “fantasy.” To which Tom replied “well I think you’re wrong.” It’s at this moment he knows Summer’s intentions. She doesn’t want a boyfriend, and he’s going to be the one to change her mind.
Such a mindset is dangerous to your self-perception. This film is a great lesson in not getting your hopes up. I’ve been there more than a few times, and have learned that if a she is comfortable in telling you that she doesn’t want a relationship, then she’s probably not lying to you. She has her reasons, and doesn’t owe you an explanation. If she sees the potential of a relationship, despite her feelings on planting such a seed, then she won’t say anything.
(2) Women can sleep with men, for fun.
If you think it’s just a man’s game, to have the intention of sleeping with the opposite sex (or same sex), but never want a relationship, you are sorely mistaken.
When Summer and Tom end up at a co-worker’s wedding, they end up dancing. When Tom confronts her about why, if she was in a relationship, her excuse was simple: “because I wanted to.”
Just as the sky is blue, both genders can dance, and sleep with someone, without being in a relationship. As a man, you aren’t special if a woman sleeps with you, nor does she owe you anything if she does. As the old saying goes: “Girls just wanna have fun!” Believe it or not, they are capable of making decisions such as, who they want to sleep with, and if it’s just for fun! It doesn’t always mean she wants a relationship. It also gives definition to the phrase, “keeping it casual.” Apparently, sleeping together is “what casual people do.”
(3) Use breakups as an opportunity to better yourself.
There are a lot of things humans are known to do once one is no longer romantically attached to another person. Some of us drink away the pain, (*points to self*), some of us sleep the days away, and some of us turn into a professional at breaking plates to let out the aggression. All of these have pros, and cons (drinking has more cons, than pros).
Tom does a few things to help himself get through losing Summer. He sleeps and drinks the days away, he wallows, he breaks plates. All of these, he does, for many days, before he finally decides to get out of bed and motivate himself to do something. In this case, it was his dream to be an architect.
In reality, the best thing you can REALLY do, after a breakup, is sit down and figure out a way to learn from it. For instance, I’ve been writing songs since I was 16 years old. It’s a great release, to write a song about a girl who had a part in my heartbreak, without publicly belittling her, or annoying my friends with my senseless, and crass allegations, that ultimately make ME look like the jackass. Instead, I took up teaching myself piano and guitar, which I’ve become mediocre at. Distraction is your best friend, after a breakup. Use the opportunity to better yourself not break yourself (or most of your kitchens plates.) I can’t stress it enough do and see things you’ve always wanted to do.
(4) Do NOT compare women.
Tom eventually gets set up on a blind date with a pretty girl, and he almost immediately tells her it won’t work out, without REALLY giving her a chance. He’s still fresh off his breakup, so every woman he comes in contact with will never be Summer. However here’s the thing that Tom isn’t considering: she isn’t SUPPOSED to be Summer.
One mistake I’ve made, and that many friends have made, is saying that the next girl “is nothing like the last one.” Okay, good! Cause the last one didn’t work out! Telling a woman that she is unlike anyone you’ve dated is kind of a veiled compliment, to me anyway. Sure, it’s a compliment. But how much have you been thinking about your ex’s flaws before coming to that conclusion? Men and women are their own people. All comprised of different traits, and personalities, thoughts, and feelings. I pray to anything I’m nothing like anyone you’ve ever dated.
(5) Being friends is okay.
If you haven’t seen the movie, then I’m telling you, right now, that it is no secret that she breaks up with him right at the beginning of the film. As he walks out on her she tries to calm him by saying “you’re still my best friend!” Many men would hear that and grab their chest as if their heart lied between their skin and their shirt. “Friend zoned!” they’d collectively say. I’m telling you from experience, that you can have a great friendship with someone, despite a relationship never coming to fruition. If you can put your feelings aside, and move forward as a friend, then that’s a great quality you possess. It’s okay if things don’t work out, as cliche as it sounds it’s true that if it was meant to be, it will find a way to work out. No need to force it.
Having someone on your side who knows you emotionally, or sexually has its advantages. That’s someone who truly knows YOU and it makes an impression on them. If you can take an active past, and put it behind you, for the sole sake of keeping them around, in any capacity you can have them.
— Phoenix Finke.