Life Advice



Erika Ettin: Talk the talk and walk the walk

Erika Ettin, Tribune News Service on

Published in Dating Advice

I’ve always loved math. I still do. (And can’t forget spreadsheets!)

But I still remember that in high school, the entire calculus class was clueless as to why integrals were, well, integral to our lives. (I’m still not sure, to be honest.) Our teacher, Mr. Opre, told us to “talk the talk and walk the walk” until we started to really understand what we were doing.

What he meant was that we needed to go through the motions (as in, follow the mathematical steps) until it started to feel like we actually knew what we were doing, while grasping the concept along the way. Slowly but surely, his advice worked, and I was calculating integrals with enthusiasm.

What does this have to do with dating? Some of us are jaded by the dating process, and some of us feel insecure about getting back out there. Some of us may feel like we lost a sense of ourselves in our last relationship, so we need to get back into the things we love to do. If anything here sounds true to you, then I’m going to give the same advice Mr. Opre gave: Talk the talk and walk the walk. Eventually, things will start to catch up with you.

It’s fairly well known that the act of smiling can actually make you happier. That seems counterintuitive, doesn’t it? Don’t you smile because you feel happy, and not the other way around? Maybe not. So, if smiling can, in fact, make you happier, can talking the talk and walking the walk make you more confident in dating? I’d venture to say yes.

Most things in life are all about framing.


Let’s say someone asks, “What do you like to do for fun?” You have two options: You could put yourself down, saying something like, “Oh, I don’t know. I guess I like to do my daily crossword puzzle and work out sometimes. That’s about all.” Or, you could own it and talk the talk of confidence, even if you’re not feeling it quite yet. “I’m trying to get into some new activities, but for now, I’ve rediscovered my love for crossword puzzles, and I just started this new boot camp class at the gym. It’s hard work!”

Which person would you rather date?

If you feel jaded or insecure, when you get to that date, it’s important that you exude some level of confidence (or “the walk”). Rather than the person you’re with thinking, “She really doesn’t think very highly of herself,” or, “She must have been on one too many bad dates recently,” your date will instead think, “I can’t believe she made time for me tonight … what a catch!”

So, talk the talk, walk the walk, and calculate some integrals. (OK, that last one is optional.) Thanks, Mr. Opre!

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