1. I'm going to say that it should be less awkward and more natural. Less beating around the bush, characters spilling spaghetti or stalling on the romance just because. Don't let the romance consume the characters' actions and personalities. Let the romance come naturally, and if you have to stall it, have fun with it. When the romance is fun and knows when it's good to law low, the story flows naturally,
The Nanny is a good example of this because you see the leads' relationship grow over time, but they're not afraid to snark at each other. Part of the comedy comes from Mr. Sheffield not being ready for a relationship, or Fran setting things back because her own idiocy. Instead of making the relationship an all-consuming drama, it's a highlight of two characters who already stand out on their own.
2. Make it feel less preachy. A good way to do that is to show that the oppressed side can and has done bad things to warrant hatred, even if they were largely pestered into it by their oppressors. Racism is bad, but it's also a complex issue. It feels more real and less biased when you show both sides of the argument, even if you know one side is ultimately correct.
The X-Men are (or were) a good example because Magneto is rightfully pissed at humans, and mutants are oppressed. Likewise, with Magneto running around, we can see why humans fear mutants. But we also understand why radicalized hatred of others, no matter the reasoning, is bad. Even though you feel sympathy or can understand the person's anger, it isn't endorsing it or making it seem like one side is completely correct.
3. What >>123740228
said. But also, make them charismatic and fun. Sometimes you want to see a jerk because they're funny, enjoyable or charming. You can have them face the consequences of their actions, or add humanity, or make them so over-the-top that they're too silly to take their awful behavior seriously.