Nick Viall Says It Like It Is in New book, Don’t Text Your Ex Happy Birthday: And Other Advice on Love, Sex, and Dating


October 4, 2022

Natalie Steger

Photography by: Dexter Brown | Styling by: Mariah Galston & Janelle Arreola | Grooming by: Jaime Maloney

Nick Viall and I go way back, well sort of. It was the summer of 2015, and I was pretty into the Bachelor Franchise for a few years after having my first kid. To be honest, I never expected the former Bachelor star, based on my perception of him on television, to ever be lucky at love or even great at relationships, and I wasn’t even sure if I liked him most of the time. He proved me wrong when he recently re-entered my life with the upcoming release of his new book, Don’t Text Your Ex Happy Birthday: And Other Advice on Love, Sex, and Dating. I had the pleasure of interviewing this accomplished, award-winning podcaster and TV personality after reading his new book, which I found to be an insightful and fun, easy read. Viall opens himself up quite a bit through personal stories and answering questions that many of us have asked ourselves at one time or another. I enjoyed his writing style; it felt more like a conversation with your bestie guy-friend who gives solid advice. He was vulnerable, humorous, and just to the point. I learned a few things and gained a few reminders of the importance of boundaries – something we all need more than ever in this world where nearly all of us are digitally connected. Viall’s book offers the exact kind of wisdom I wish someone shared with me in my teens and 20’s and even years later with my own husband. Finding love is a rollercoaster ride and let’s face it, in today’s world of dating apps, Tinder, Bumble and Hinge, we need all the help we can get. Nick Viall and his new book is the friend all of us need to say, “Hey, that person who ghosted you is probably not into you, and it was not your fault, it actually is them not you…so delete the number and move on.” 

What prompted you to write this book, and why now?

The book sort of came to be by accident. It all started from my weekly “Questions with Nick” segment I do every Sunday on my Instagram stories. I had originally compiled thousands of the questions and answers from that segment and envisioned putting all of them into a simple coffee table book. Eventually, I decided to put together everything I discuss on my show into a book that could serve as a guide for anyone who might feel a little confused, frustrated, and generally powerless when it comes to their love life.  

What were some of the challenges you experienced in the writing process of your book? 

Well, for one, I truly never thought I would be capable of writing an actual book. Until this book, I think the longest thing I’ve written was a long, sappy break-up letter to an ex-girlfriend in hopes that they might reconsider their decision (it didn’t work). I’m dyslexic, a terrible speller, and for the life of me, I don’t know where commas go; but I do have a lot of thoughts in my head, so it was just a matter of getting them on paper.  Starting it was brutal because I just didn’t know where to start. The best advice I got was “to just write.” Don’t think about writing a book, but just write whatever comes to mind.  Eventually, I had enough pages to sit down with my editor, and together we organized what we had into what started looking like a book. After that, it became easier because I could visualize what the book was and from there, start filling in the missing pieces. Forty percent of the book was probably written after the first draft. 

Can you share some of the positive experiences or any “aha” moments during the writing process of your book?

As I said above, once I was able to grind out the first rough draft it was a huge “aha moment.” The trick is to not get too discouraged before you get to that moment. The ideas start really flowing after that.

Define what you consider a F*ckboy/girl/person in your own words?” 

All it takes to be a Fuckboy/girl/person is to be casually hooking up with someone who likes you a little more than you like them, yet you choose to spend time with them at your convenience, even though they want more out of the relationship.

Have you ever been one? If yes, do you have any regrets, and why? 

As they say, perception is reality, and I’m sure someone has perceived me to be a fuckboy. I have always been an incredibly upfront person, especially when it comes to feelings and sex. However, I’m sure I gave in to a moment at some point, even though I knew the other person was hoping for more. Certainly, you always regret knowing that your actions played into the disappointment of someone else. 

You talk about ego quite a bit in your book. What or who perhaps helped you to recognize your own ego in your life?

I met my ego when I was cheated on in my mid-twenties by my then finance. Around that time, I read the book, The Power of Intentions by Dr. Wayne Dwyer. He talks a lot about ego in his book. I spent a lot of time after that understanding how my ego played a role in my choices and how that affected my happiness.

Do you think social media, dating apps, and everything being at your fingers tips digitally (literally on your phone) makes navigating this dating world harder? 

I consider myself to be pro dating apps but with a big warning sign. You have to be able to self-police and know when to take breaks. It’s a tool that provides too much access to too many people. If you’re not careful, it can turn into a rejection app. Every swipe, match, and conversation on an app is an opportunity to feel rejection. When we use dating apps without specific intentions and just as time killers, we are setting ourselves up to feel tons of rejection, even if it’s just subconsciously. That said, if you can set boundaries for yourself, know when to take breaks from it, and limit your choices, it can be a great way to meet people.

Reading your book, I find some (a lot) of your advice and answers, to be brutally honest. Where does some of the inspiration for your advice come from? 

The whole book is really about being honest with yourself, so I felt it necessary to be honest with my readers. Facing the truth can be a little scary, but once you get used to it, you feel a lot more in control and more powerful. You also waste a lot less time on people and situations that are not giving you the same energy back

What do you hope your readers get out of your book, and can we expect more writing from you in the future?

My greatest hope is that everyone who reads it finds at least one thing from the book that helps them feel a little more in control of their own love life and life in general. We’ll see how this one is received before I start thinking about writing another one! I’m interested to see how people will feel reading a book like this from a once unlucky-in-love reality TV star. I certainly hope I have another opportunity to write another. 

If you could offer one piece of advice regarding finding love, what would it be? 

Be patient, take it easy on yourself, pat yourself on the back whenever you enforce your own boundaries (because that shit is hard to do), and remember you’re only looking for one.

Get your copy of Don’t Text Your Ex Happy Birthday: And Other Advice on Love, Sex, and Dating by TV personality, award-winning podcast host, and now author, Nick Viall. Available everywhere on October 4th, 2022