If there's anyone qualified to dish out dating advice, it's sweet Sarah Vendal from the most recent season of The Bachelor. She didn't find her happily ever after with Nick Viall but she's continuing her search for love and having some serious fun in the process. Read on for her words to single ladies everywhere, including how the show changed her outlook on relationships for the better.
Tell us about your experience dating Nick on The Bachelor!
Sarah: Dating Nick on The Bachelor was a whirlwind from the get-go! When you’re chosen out of thousands of women who put themselves out there for this, you think to yourself “Holy moly, maybe he is the one for me!”…well, at least that was how my mind worked.
So from meeting him on night one to our first group date just hours after, it was an emotional rollercoaster. You want it to work so badly, but the little disconnects that are just normal dating red flags in real life for you to think about make you feel like the relationship is on eggshells. In hindsight, I knew he wasn’t going to be for me, and he knew that as well. It was very obvious who he was genuinely interested in, and I wasn’t one of them, which is so okay! Our conversations were just never there, and our chemistry was missing.
The whole experience teaches you so much about yourself and your feelings! We joke about it now, but really you learn to identify and verbalize your feelings like a professional. I also learned to take risks. You come back from the show and you feel like you conquered the world. In my opinion, that’s why so people change up careers, or where they live. You’re like, if I can survive that, I can survive whatever else I was scared to try before this.
How has being on The Bachelor affected your dating life today?
I do have to say dating after the show has set some crazy expectations. I mean, we were just conditioned to expect an engagement after 60 days, so if I'm talking to someone and we haven’t had the “What are we doing here?” talk after 30, I’m like...sooo, what’s the deal?
Jokes aside, dating after this show has become simplified for me. The Bachelor teaches you to ask the hard questions early on. While that never used to be my typical style, I found it has helped me to stay focused on what I want rather than spend time with someone who I know wants different things out of a relationship than I do. If you ask the hard questions on the show, the worst that can happen is...well, a lot. You publicly go home on national television. So scary, but you risk it anyway.
Post-show if you ask the hard questions, the worst that can happen is that you’re privately rejected and no one is the wiser. It’s much easier to accept rejection now, so you feel ok putting yourself out there more. But it has also made me more accepting, more willing to hear someone out I might not have heard out before, and it has made me all the more of a romantic. Sorry boys, but I’m still a sucker for roses - white ones!
Any tips for leading an adventurous, fun-filled life while searching for love?
Omgosh, so many! Say yes to things, but don’t be afraid to say no to something you don’t want to do. Being decisive used to be incredibly hard for me. I’m a people pleaser and I hate the thought of disappointing someone. However, the more I just decide what I want to do, the better I feel, the more effort I put into other things and people, and the more confident I am all around.
I also say spend alone time. Don’t be afraid of it. I LOVE taking myself to the movies, or to grab lunch. Also, make time for all your friends and make plans. I love having something to look forward to, especially with summer coming up!
Lastly, be open with what insecurities you have. I have them. Everyone totally does, men included! You never know when you might meet someone who fears the same things you do.
What does a perfect first date look like to you?
FUN! My goodness, if we can’t have fun right off the bat, I’m worried. Ultimately I want a best friend, but that doesn’t mean chivalry goes out the door (and for me that extends to the whole relationship). I look for a man who opens the door, walks on the side of traffic on the sidewalk, and for the first date, plans. It doesn’t need to be big at all, I just like to see that there was some thought put into it.
When in doubt…activities are best! Breweries, sporting events, hikes, walks, food festivals, the county fair, bowling, heck...take me grocery shopping for all I care. I’m just always drawn to things that can spark a flirty, sassy, and somewhat competitive conversation in the beginning.
I do have to say, at the end of the day, on a “perfect” first date, it won’t matter what we do. It’s just a feeling of attraction, respect, and curiosity for one another that I look for to see if there can be something more. We could literally be sitting on the side of the road with a flat tire, waiting for AAA and I’d be in heaven if those intangibles were there.
Fill in the blank: I'll know I've found "The One" when __
I’ll know I’ve found “The One” when I say “Babe, I’m feeling Mexican tonight” and he says, “Blended or on the rocks?” I’m not serious, but I kind of am. This is the hardest question! I don’t know the answer, to be honest. But when I find him I’ll be sure to let you know what it is that made me know he was my one!