Mar 26 2014 10:28am

Love Lessons from The Mindy Project’s Dr. Mindy Lahiri

Mindy Kaling as Dr. Mindy Lahiri in The Mindy ProjectDr. Mindy Lahiri bases the success of her love life around how closely it resembles a rom-com. Unfortunately, her dates and her life in general (while hilarious) lend themselves more to a tale of caution than a storybook. To celebrate the return of the charming, hilarious, and romantic TV comedy The Mindy Project in less than a week (April 1), allow us to present 10 lessons the show, via Mindy, has taught us thus far about love and dating.

10. Let go of the fairy tale. We've only gotten a few glimpses of what oral surgeon Tom and Mindy were like as a couple prior to the series, but what we have seen suggests that even before Tom dumped her for a Serbian bagel girl “with more years to share,” Mindy'd been invested in him more as proof that fairytales can come true than 'cause she was ready for an honest-to-goodness long-term relationship. Even the way she describes their meet-cute (“Met in an elevator? My hair came undone? Are you kidding me? I'm basically Sandra Bullock!”) and subsequent accelerated romance (he moved in after a very brief courtship) are evidence that these two were not together for the right reasons. While Mindy's a wreck about Tom's betrayal at first, in the long run she's undoubtedly better off without him and in a more grounded relationship. (I'm Sandra Bullock gif via

9. Don't sleep with the enemy. While dangerously appealing and not without certain merits (hot hate-sex chief among them), this never ends well. ’Cause at the end of the still hate each other. Mindy learned this the hard way when, per (terrible) advice from Jeremy, she propositioned midwife Brendan Deslaurier for a casual, enemies-with-benefits affair. Unfortunately, Mindy got a little too attached...until Brendan told her flat-out that he wasn’t interested in actually dating her. Zing. You know what they say: Once an asshole…

8. Just say no to cheating drug addicts. Sure, Mindy didn't know while they were dating that sports attorney Josh was doing coke and cheating on her with not one but multiple women, but shouldn't she have? Josh probably puts it best in the episode “Santa Fe” when she visits him for closure: “You're a smart person, have a way of ignoring things, even when all the signs are there.” So I guess the real lesson here is actually: Listen to your head as well as your heart.

7.Steer clear of men in love with their best friends. This one may seem obvious, but haven't we all ignored a warning sign or 10? Yet as Mindy learned by dating cute, witty Latin professor Jamie: He can claim platonic feelings for his best friend ’til he’s blue in the face, but irrational jealousy and possessiveness, frequent casual touches, and complete disregard for personal space don’t lie.

6. Pretty Woman is not actually a dating how-to. Again, seems like common sense, but, well, just in case: Don't take a hooker home, 'cause life's not actually like Pretty Woman. Yes, you may have to attend a friend's dinner party solo, but at least you won't be humiliated by all your friends when the truth comes out that you paid your date to be there, as was the case when Mindy met prostitute Adam at a bar and did just that.

5. Don't change yourself for a guy. Mindy has a lot of experience with this one, and can't we all relate? It's hella tempting to believe that a relationship can work if you just try hard enough, but at the end of the day, feeling like you need to switch religions, cut off all your hair, move to Haiti, and/or hide your naked body is likely a big indicator that you're not truly happy. And if you have to pretend you are, what's the point? (Rishi gifs via trytriedtrying on Tumblr)

4. Never settle for a guy who thinks he's better than you. Don’t date someone who makes you feel inferior, culturally or otherwise. You’re great and deserve better. Jason the newspaper columnist was arguably the very worst of all Mindy’s boyfriends. From their meet-(not-so)-cute onward, Jason always had the upper hand; he saw himself as culturally superior to Mindy and constantly insulted her taste in movies, music, art, you name it. Sure, he supposedly ended things with her because she remembered Danny’s sushi order (Philadelphia roll!) and stood him up for a night out with her colleagues, but we all know he just never liked her all that much and had come to realize he couldn’t mold her into the type of person he saw himself dating.

3. Be picky. Not wanting to settle and being picky are two very different things. Yes, maybe Mindy should have given a guy named Chaz a chance, but if you know you won’t be compatible, there’s no use in forcing it. Both parties will just end up miserable. A great example of this was professional skateboarder/man-child Graham, whom Mindy went out with just to prove a point to Danny about her willingness to give all sorts of men a shot. This backfired when she learned that they had next to nothing in common (outside of the bedroom), including core values like paying for meals in restaurants. As far as failed dating experiments go, you couldn’t have found a hotter failure, but at the end of the day Mindy (and Danny too, actually) realized you should never settle, and that being picky is okay. (Mindy/Graham gif via The Houston Chronicle)

2. Don't throw an elaborate office Christmas party just to snag a guy. Not only is the plan likely to go awry, as Mindy learned in “Christmas Party Sex Trap,” but you deserve more than feeling like you have to trick a man into noticing you. Also? You risk overlooking just how insanley romantic your best friend's Secret Santa gift is, and what it means.

1. Wait for the guy who loves you for you. Danny Castellano may prove to be The One for Mindy (fingers crossed after that ridiculously hot airplane kiss) not so much because he's attractive, intelligent, and wealthy, but because on top of all that, he also understands, supports, and appreciates everything about her (and, coincidentally, the same goes for her about him). Danny and Mindy know each other's best and worst qualities and still want each other. Sure, the two started out as antagonists, and even now they can sure fight dirty (with Danny playing on Mindy's insecurities about Cliff, and Mindy throwing Danny's daddy issues in his face), but underneath all the drama is a foundation of respect and admiration for each other as doctors and as people. More than coworkers, they're now each other's closest confidantes, staunchest defenders, and biggest cheerleaders. That, friends, is true love with an equal partner—and it's surely worth the wait.


The Mindy Project returns with new episodes on Tuesday, April 1, on FOX.


Jennifer Proffitt is a Midwest transplant to New York City. She spends most of her time reading and writing about romance, but you can follow her other adventures on Twitter @JennProffitt. She works for Heroes and Heartbreakers.

Heather Waters is the site manager for Heroes and Heartbreakers and a 24/7 fangirl. Find her on Twitter at @hwaters_

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