Recently, I was a guest on The Bachelor Nick Viall’s podcast, “The Viall Files.” We talked all things relationships. I was struck by how smart his questions were and how easily he shared his wisdom, alongside his own advice on dating and being in a partnership. As the in-house life coach for Poosh, I immediately wanted to interview him for our readers, so we turned the tables, and I asked Nick questions to help you get a leg up on your dating debacles. One of the things we covered in our conversation was the top five dating mistakes people make … and who doesn’t want to know what the two-time runner-up on The Bachelorette, and The Bachelor himself, would have to say on that?
I started by asking Nick how he came to be such an expert in this department. He said, “I’ve always been the friend that my friends come to for dating advice. A lot of it comes from my own self-preservation.” He admits it’s easier to give relationship advice when you don’t have a vested interest and you’re completely unbiased, but that he has gotten better with age—in changing what he’s looking for, and in paying attention to red flags. (We’ll cover his top 10 in the next article in this three-part series of dating advice from Nick.)
Per Nick, these are the top five mistakes people make when dating:
- Focusing too much on trying to get the person to like you before you have even decided if you like them.
- Lack of communication—through not putting out your intentions and by making the mistake of avoiding things, like defining what you’re looking for in a relationship.
- Not trusting your gut, and not being honest with yourself, for fear of the answer. For example, if you’re sensing they’re cheating or they don’t like you back, and you don’t honor that. “No one will lie to us more than ourselves. We are the biggest liars we’ll ever meet.”
- Not establishing what you want in a relationship going forward, like being afraid to speak up about where you want to go on the first date. Don’t be accepting and laid-back if that’s not you, because you lose your power. Not taking initiative in decisions.
- Deciding too early where the relationship is heading. Enjoy the honeymoon phase, just let it be. Don’t get ahead of yourself, and also realize there will be bumps in the road ahead, so enjoy the fun part at the beginning.
We discussed dating dynamics, and Nick talked about burning the dating books that pigeonhole women’s and men’s roles because “you’ll wake up one day and say, ‘You’ve changed, you’re not the person I married.’” He emphasized why it’s so vital to be yourself from the get-go, state your needs and wants, and be assertive with your preferences, but to let things unfold in their due time.
He talked about maturing, learning to follow your gut, and not turning a blind eye to your intuition, which happened to him when he was cheated on once, a while back: “I’ve always seen this as a great moment in my life.” He went on to say that people feel shame when that happens to them, and they want to make it about them somehow not being enough, and they don’t want to feel judged by others, but it’s really the person who cheated that carries the shame. “To me, it was a very vulnerable moment in my life, like, ‘OK, I can be cheated on, I’m not that special,’ and that was a great realization of ‘It’s OK to not have people like you, it’s OK to not have things go your way.’ I was like, ‘Well, you survived that.’ It was learning how to trust your gut. Sometimes you just have to go through it, as part of gaining perspective.” These experiences are definitely part of the relational learning curve, for everyone.
When asked what he’s for looking for in a relationship now, he said, “I try not to list-build when it comes to finding a partner because I think people make that mistake a lot. I dated the same fiery woman and I just got exhausted. As you get older, you change what you’re looking for. I think it’s really all about trust, trusting someone. Not just trusting that they don’t cheat on you or lie but trusting someone enough that you can be comfortable to be your truest self and then have that person help you be the best version of yourself. I don’t like the phrase when people say, ‘I’m looking for someone who makes me a better person.’ Only you can make yourself a better person, but you can date someone who helps you bring out the best in yourself. They know how to check you in a constructive way rather than criticize you and make you angry, or make you frustrated, playing out your insecurities and things like that. Honestly, it’s really just those two, other than physical attraction and natural chemistry.”
We agreed that your partner should be either raising the bar or holding up the mirror to you in some way. But what their motivation is for calling you out is significant, because “how people show their love is important.” Nick also talked about waiting for the first fight: “You don’t know if the relationship is any good until you know how to fight.” Truer words were never spoken. You learn a lot about each other, and problem-solving can be a big trap door if you don’t have that respect in place.
This a three-part series about dating and relationships with Nick Viall. You can follow him on IG @nickviall and tune into his podcast @viallfiles.
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