Nick Viall, two-time runner-up on The Bachelorette and a former Bachelor himself, has become an expert on relationships. He regularly dispenses great advice on his podcast, “The Viall Files,” where people call in and ask him relational questions. He brings common sense, hard-won wisdom, and a dose of good humor to his answers. Having been a guest on his podcast, I thought Poosh readers would love to hear his unique perspective. We had a great conversation about dating mistakes, and in this article, we’ll talk about his top five red flags in the dating pool. You might think it’s all about looking for the cautionary signs in the other person, but as Nick points out, it’s often people’s own red flags that trip things up.
1. Not trusting your gut. Things don’t add up, but you’re projecting what you want while disregarding the facts.
2. Inconsistency or noncommittal people are a big indicator of their desire to actually be there.
3. Ghosting. If someone ghosts, it becomes your red flag, if you’re willing to excuse their behavior by continuing to see them. People make excuses for someone they want to like.
4. Boredom. If you find yourself hanging with someone randomly or someone pops up after having not heard from them in while, there’s a good chance boredom is in play. It indicates a lack of enthusiasm.
5. Playing house. If they’re introducing you to their friends and family, and spending the night too regularly, too early, it can be a sign the person wants to “play house” because they’re searching for a feeling or a situation rather than the right partner.
We talked about how people create too many options in their dating roster (especially in dating apps), and how that’s a set-up for failure, because you can’t get to know one person really well if you’re spending time trying to get to know too many, hedging your bets. You should also check to make sure you’re not chasing a relationship, rather than just being open to finding a connection.
He mentioned how “we’ve gotten worse at communicating because everything is over text, and that’s why ghosting has become so common—with both men and women. It’s hard to know what to say, so people don’t say anything, then days go by, and it’s now weird to say anything at all. People just don’t want to deal.” When asked if that’s something he does too, he said, “I’ve always been a pretty direct person. I’m older, and ghosting is a new thing. Maybe I’m old-fashioned, but when I make plans, I show up.”
We expanded on this notion of boredom and … Sour Patch Kids. How the brain prefers pain to boredom. “Pain being a form of stimulation, so we seek it out. We have to be mindful about what stimulates us.” He told a female friend once, “Listen, he’s a Sour Patch Kid. I love Sour Patch Kids, and every time I see a Sour Patch Kid, my mouth salivates. I know it’s going to be delicious, so I eat it and it tastes so good. I indulge, but I feel sick and have a rotten stomach. I always say, ‘This is the last time,’ and a week later, there they are. But I’ll never be able to live off Sour Patch Kids; they’ll never nourish my body the way I need them to. That’s all he is—you just have to stop the addiction.” He further explained, “When we are just hungry, and we don’t know what to eat, and there’s nothing there but that person who might feel good in the moment, but they cause you pain and upset. If you’re grabbing a drink with someone, fine. But if it’s an ex, and you already know, then don’t give in to the boredom.”
We wrapped things up with his to-the-point and no-nonsense relational outlook, “If early on, people are making excuses for little things, that could be a big red flag. Dating is hard, but it shouldn’t be complicated. It’s difficult, but we overcomplicate it by making excuses for people or for ourselves. ‘Are you interested or are you not?’ And knowing when to move on and when to let something go.”
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.