We love it. We hate it. We binge it. That’s the way it goes with ABC’s The Bachelorette — despite knowing that much of the drama is producer-induced and many of the feelings are surface-level, we just can’t look away.
Although the ratio of ratings-driven antics to actual reality is questionable at best, current bachelorette Rachel Lindsay’s apparent (and totally admirable) sense of self-awareness sure isn’t. Lindsay knows what she wants in a man, which is why through the course of this season she’s established herself as lawyer-by-day and love-guru-by-Monday-nights. Read on for some real-life lessons in dating we’ve learned from this season of our favorite reality show.
1. Your S.O. should be curious, not just complimentary. Lindsay’s goodbye to Josiah Graham made it clear that flowery words don’t always get you a flower in return. After the contestant attempted to woo her for 60 consecutive seconds without letting her get in more than a few words, the bachelorette confronted him, saying, “I feel like when you and I talk, you don’t really ask questions about me. I want you to want to know about me.” He followed this up with yet another compliment about how perceptive she is. We agree, Josiah, she is perceptive — which is how she knew you were full of it. Your S.O. should be eager to learn more about you, because without that foundation, those compliments are, in fact, baseless.
2. Dating someone similar to you won’t always work out. Though the old adage “opposites attract” might be true at times, people are often equally as drawn to people similar to them. Jack Stone, a Dallas-based attorney, seemed like a perfect partner for Lindsay — at least on paper. But if their awkward make-out sesh wasn’t enough, their complete lack of emotional connection sent him packing after his first one-on-one date. And poor Matt Munson, who Lindsay divulged was very much like her, met the same fate. Neither twinning job titles nor shared interests can make a relationship last if the chemistry just isn’t there.
3. Pick and choose when to be selfless versus selfish. In her heart-to-heart with Chris Harrison post hometowns, Lindsay stated she was having a hard time being selfish throughout this process, yet she acknowledged the necessity. Lindsay came on the show in hopes of finding a man with whom she’ll spend a lifetime of happiness, and — surprise, surprise — achieving this objective requires she actually does what makes her, not the guys, happy. However, she very maturely put this mentality aside with Kenny Layne. Lindsay’s decision to choose Layne after the notorious two-on-one date with Lee Garrett proved her feelings for him were true. But, much to viewers’ shock, he too was sent home by the episode’s end. Setting her own emotions aside, Lindsay parted from Layne so he could be reunited with his daughter. Caring about a person sometimes does mean putting their needs before your own; it’s all about discerning when it’s one of those times.
4. Talk about the tricky stuff. Dean Unglert’s childish avoidance of Lindsay’s attempts to discuss his impending hometown date (“Do you believe in the Tooth Fairy?” Yikes.) was not only cringe-worthy but also totally counterproductive. It disappointed Lindsay and nearly lost him the rose. Early on, Unglert was able to earn points with Lindsay by making her laugh, but it was his ability to open up about his painful past and family dynamic that kept him around. Although it didn’t work out for these two in the end (we’re still not over it), the emotional closeness they gained through those conversations may have been what prompted Lindsay’s unprecedented confession of love.
5. Be selective with your second chances. Once again, Lindsay proved talk is cheap, even when it’s making the franchise a lot of money. After being sent home for allegedly having a girlfriend, DeMario Jackson showed up at the next cocktail party to woo Lindsay back, and he came prepared. After a speech complete with a “Yes, I did mess up,” a weirdly unfitting Jay-Z quote, and literal begging, Lindsay still gracefully and matter-of-factly sent Jackson home. Although giving someone a second chance might be enticing — especially when you’ve been dating for longer than, say, two weeks like Lindsay and Jackson had been — it’s important to follow this reality star’s lead and save the second chances for the few who truly deserve them.
What real-life dating insight have you gotten from your favorite TV show? Tweet us your tips @BritandCo!
(Photos via ABC)