Reality TV may seem like fluff and a big waste of time. But don’t feel guilty about indulging in your favorite television treat; shows like the Bachelor and Bachelorette offer valuable life lessons that can help you succeed in relationships… or at least know why you’re failing.
Drunken Impressions are Rarely Good
I get it – sometimes you might feel you need a drink or two to loosen up and have a good time in a tense situation. But going overboard never works, whether on TV or in real life. The people who get sent home early on the first night are usually the ones slurring their speech, tripping over their feet, or passing out by the pool. Not a good first impression. Not a good impression at all, in fact… it seems that in this thing called life, everything is better in moderation. And even though we might not remember everything dumb we do when we’re wasted, we always know that it was completely embarrassing.
It’s Important to Be Authentic
Bachelors and Bachelorettes tend to ask suitors to be open, honest and authentic. This is something I’ve struggled with my whole life, because I think it’s hard to lay your soul bare for another person you don’t yet trust. But what I’ve learned is that trust comes because of the authenticity, not the other way around. After all, the “villains” on the show are the ones who act one way with the object of affection and another with their peers. These are the people that nobody in the house likes… and that level of disdain never comes without a good reason.
You Can Love More than One
Having a partner in life is wonderful – a best friend and lover to walk with side by side, hand in hand and heart to heart. But love doesn’t come with a limit or expiration date, and while I used to sneer at how the Bachelor or Bachelorette could talk about falling in love with more than one person, I now know that it’s completely possible if you’re in that place in your life when you don’t need or want “the one.” If you are in that place, though, trying to have intimate relationships with more than one person can end up emotionally messy.
You Can’t Hurry Love (or Force it)
Phil Collins told us we can’t hurry love, but we see it played out season after season: over the period of a few weeks, the Bachelor or Bachelorette claims to have found their soul mate and life partner. And then, within months, the relationship is over. Attraction might be immediate, and I’ve certainly felt those butterfly-like “in love” feelings within days. But building a lasting relationship takes time, and I don’t think you can rush it or force it. Seriously, would you want to choose your future spouse from a pool of only 25 possibilities that you had to whittle down to 19 within hours? To me that’s like trying to hammer a square peg into a round hole.
Fantasies Don’t Last
The constant concern on the show is that suitors should be there “for the right reasons” – honestly interested in the prime object of affection, and not just 15 minutes of fame or some questionable promotional opportunity. But this is kind of weird because contestants apply without knowing who the star might be. Nonetheless, the Bachelor or Bachelorette’s fantasy is that every single person there should be fawning over them – and that when all is said and done, their knight in shining armor or beautiful princess will carry them off into the sunset. The truth is, every time we have a fantasy that is skewed one way, reality is going to deal us a slap in the face, and that is what happens repeatedly on this show.