In a Jan. 17 filmed episode of his relationship advice podcast, The Viall Files, erstwhile Bachelor contestant Nick Viall didn’t hold back when a listener called in for advice on behalf of a friend who wanted more from her situationship: her friend has to be willing to walk away from it.
“If people give us things for free, we tend not to pay for it,” he said, sporting an “Introverts Are Better Lovers” T-shirt.
Viall’s advice was simple but direct. “He is looking for better,” Viall told the listener about the man in the situationship.
“I really went through it in my 20s in relationships, so I just became later in life the friend I would go to and I just kind of had a knack for giving advice,” Viall told me over Zoom in August. “It was kind of a combination of empathetic because I felt like I had really experienced some of the similar struggles with whoever I was talking to, but with a bit of directness.”
The advice resonated with at least one listener. Howie Madagan, a 25-year-old from Virginia, told BuzzFeed News he had taken Viall’s advice with a few situationships he was in, including telling one guy that he wanted a relationship. “I feel like our generation has turned it into a very interesting dating scene and so [the advice] just resonated,” Madagan said. “I think everybody deserves to be valued and appreciated and have that reciprocated.”
On TikTok, short videos of his podcasts make the rounds. When the second season of Love Is Blind ended, castmates from the Netflix dating show, including Deepti and Shayne, quickly hopped on Viall’s podcast to sound off, even launching a feud between controversial contestant Shake Chatterjee and Viall over how Chatterjee treated Deepti on the show.
Viall’s podcast is only one extension of his burgeoning business. His first book, Don’t Text Your Ex Happy Birthday, comes out Oct. 4. This transformation represents an interesting 180-degree turn for Viall, who hasn’t always been viewed as a straight-shooting relationship expert. America first met Viall in 2014, when he was a 33-year-old software sales rep competing for Andi Dorfman’s heart on the 10th season of The Bachelorette. Dubbed arrogant and cocky by other contestants after telling the men he was “the frontrunner,” he was quickly singled out as that season’s villain by Bachelor Nation. His bad boy image was cemented during the live “After the Final Rose” special, when Viall famously told Dorfman, who chose Josh Murray over him, “If you weren’t in love with me, I’m just not sure why you made love with me.”
“I regret [saying that] because it affected people,” Viall said. “It affected Andi. It affected Josh, and that wasn’t my intention. The unfortunate part of that world is that you’re not supposed to speak with each other; you break up and it’s just bye.”
The following year, Viall tried to find love with another confident brunette. He competed for Kaitlyn Bristowe’s heart on the 11th season of The Bachelorette and came in second place again. During Episode 5, he showed up late to where they were filming to pursue Bristowe, putting him at odds with the other men. In one episode, Shawn Booth, who ended up winning that season, called Viall arrogant, manipulative, and cocky to his face.