With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, it seems fitting that we tackle relationships in the events industry. And more specifically, why they are so hard. Because this is a struggle that many event profs face. What makes it so hard to date? And why is getting married and settling down such a challenge? This was the premise for this week’s episode of Event Brew.
So, our lovely hosts are more than ready to get the conversation going. Will Curran, Thuy Diep, Dustin Westling, and Nick Borelli all have something to share. And it gets even better because they all have different perspectives to offer. Let’s get into Cupid’s head then, shall we? Grab your favorite brew and press play – it’s time to talk about relationships in the events industry!
So, our hosts are all in different situations. Nick has been happily married for twelve years and has two kids. Thuy is in a relationship as well, and both Will and Dustin are single. But what do they have to say about relationships in the events industry considering their romantic situation?
Nick tells us that “expectations are a little bit different as far as what people signed up for. I think the early part of it is getting people to sign up for and understand the essentials of a job – that it is also a lifestyle. And I think once you’ve been in it for a couple of decades, there are other challenges eventually”. Thuy, who is also in a relationship, says that “it’s definitely about trying to find that balance and flow, blend. There’s lots of time commitment and sacrifices needed in order to excel in our professional careers”.
Dustin also has something to say about balance. “I find that being in such an all-consuming, fast-paced world, like I am, it is very, very difficult to keep the balance where it needs to be. And I’m not great at it. Hence why I’m single”.
“I think I’ve realized it’s definitely difficult”, says Will. “I travel to a lot of events. So I’m constantly on the road. I think in 2018 I did like 60% travel. I did something like 120 hotel nights, which I was really proud of. Until it ruined a relationship of mine, I think. She wasn’t willing to admit it, but I think it was very much that way. And I think that I’ve realized it’s just really, really hard. I think coming out from the event professional side of things, for example, all these apps nowadays, Tinder’s, Bumble’s, they’re all location-based”.
“So you land in a new city and boom! You’re the hottest thing that’s come in”, he continues. “But then you’re like, “I’m here for four days.” And I’m totally cool dating people from other states. I would totally fly to date someone long-term in a long-distance relationship. But it’s difficult because once you get into a new city, the chance to meet someone new is very slim. And most of the time by the time you end up messaging, getting their phone numbers, study up the date, it’s your last day in that city and you’re gone. And then you come back to Phoenix, and all the girls that you were talking to for weeks on end are now dating someone else”.
Relationships In The Events Industry: Drawing The Line
“So I go to a lot of things and I’m really quite invested in my community”, says Dustin. “I go to a lot of fundraisers. I go to a lot of things that are linked to my business. And I just attend a lot of things. So I find sometimes it’s difficult to separate the things that are just work, they’re obligation events, and then things that you would bring a partner to”.
“So it all just seems like parties. And it’s finding that balance to be like, you’re not invited to this”, he continues. “Not because I’m going out to have fun, but it’s just a part of the job. It’s a part of collecting experiences. It’s a part of what I do. And that I find can be really confusing for people”.
Where To Go?
Thuy has some advice when it comes to the date friendly events and strictly business events. “There are events where I say I’m going to, like a business card event. Where it’s going to be a lot of networking and people are just going to want to come up and chat with me. He’s great actually, entertaining himself. I don’t have to make sure he’s doing okay and being around him. He is very social and we’ll do that. But I don’t invite him to those events. Because I know it’s going to be business. I have different intentions, I have different objectives going into that”
“But we actually just had a supplier partner invite. I had two extra tickets to a Cirque show, and we ended up using that as a date night like last week. So that was really fun and there’s definitely perks, and you can balance that all, but definitely difficult”.
Communication, Communication, Communication
Thuy has another great piece of advice when it comes to relationships in the events industry. “Effective, concise communication. I feel like I’ve learned so much in my relationship that I have applied to my professional career, which has enhanced both areas. Because not only are you on your own schedule and it’s organized and it’s full. But also, you have to consider this other person. That’s a part of your partnership. And trying to figure out, how am I able to then include them? Or what’s my priority this week? Like all aspects. Both professional and personal”.
“It’s always work. Even this many years into it, the work just changes. What you work on changes”, adds Nick. “I think I’m in the process of working. I go on these different phases of working on myself in order to be better in a relationship. And I think that that maintenance is really important. And lately, I’ve crossed over one barrier as far as understanding myself. I’m looking at getting into another barrier, to go even deeper. And I think that’s something that we all need to really do. To put the work in to be good in a relationship, it’s not just about concessions and communication, although those are probably, the biggest things”.
(Personal) Growth Matters
“I think there’s room in the word change to actually change, but I think there’s also room in the form of growth”, continues Nick. “But I think there’s more work to be done that is possible in understanding yourself and understanding what your expectations are. And where your pass fails are, and where you’re not going to grow, and where you are. So anyway, I’m in the midst of focusing on that, for this phase of my life”.
“A dumb little thing that I do that I really enjoy. It’s just like a little test thing, this app called “One second everyday.” Where I take a video or a photo every single day, and it shows a summary of the day. It’s small moments, but they are the things that I still think are important and I’ve kind of changed the stuff that I’ve captured. When I look at a week, there are some weeks where I don’t see my kids. And then there are other weeks where I’m seeing my kids every single day and with them all the time. So once I see a month’s view or two months’ view, it’s just like a little touch. And I think there are lots of different ways to do this”.
“But ultimately, communication. Some sort of being able to give and take. And then also doing as much work as you can and knowing yourself, and knowing what you need and being upfront about that” he concludes.
Of course, a conversation about relationships in the events industry couldn’t fly without technology being part of it. “I think there’s a lot of talk about how technology destroys relationships or harms relationships in some ways”, says Will. “But one thing I noticed too with Nick, is that every time that we’re hanging out, multiple times you’ll be like, “Hey, I’m going to make sure that I video call my kids at home and my wife.” Everyday. And you’re religious about it”. And you’re like, “Oh, I’m going to make sure that I’m going to do it.” And I think that’s also a, a really good testament to it”.
Keeping It Private Or Showing It Off?
“With my relationship, I’ve actually kept it more private”, says Thuy. “It’s not a secret, but I don’t post about it as often. Because I feel like technology can severely kill a relationship. Because it could be a lot of negativity, especially with all the content, and being able to see more things like what you share on your story for example, when we’re out at events. I’m posting about the highlights of the day and the perks of our job. But I would say my biggest struggle in trying to maintain a healthy relationship and a healthy career, is not taking that stress, those negative energies, being overwhelmed, being overworked, coming home late at night and taking it out on my partner”.
“I feel like lately, that’s what’s been really successful in this relationship is me saying, “Hey. I’m going to really need words of affirmation at some point. Could you just text me?” I’m just asking them something that I’ll need. “Hey. I can’t decide what to eat for dinner, but I know I’m going to be so hungry. And I don’t want to take any anger or tiredness out on you. Could you just pick a place? And I think being able to be raw like that has definitely helped”.
“Yeah, the emotional basis for the why’s you need what you do, that’s taking me a long time even to communicate that”, adds Nick. “Because you get into patterns really quickly. Taking people for granted is like the biggest pitfall at a certain point in a relationship. I think we crave comfort. We crave systems. And once you get into those things, then you start taking people for granted. And it’s just a natural thing. But being able to break out of that and explain a little bit what’s going on in the inner dialogue. That’s pretty cool. Something I need to incorporate more of”.
Finding Mental Space
“I am constantly cranked up to a level and my days are insanely packed every single day”, Dustin explains. “I’m not complaining. I love it. I don’t want that part to be any different. But what I find happens is that by the end of it, I’m so exhausted. I’m so just mentally drained and I’ve really struggled to find that mindfulness in between the two. So once I have to put the work away and that the struggle is not that I can’t stop working, that’s not my problem. The problem is leaving room for somebody else and not just when the day is over, just wanting to be in a vegetative state. Because I’ve put out everything that I have. So I’ve really struggled to switch gears and to not take all of that energy”.
“For me, it looks like you are driven by a passion to do what you do”, Nick says. “What if you figured out a way to incorporate that same passion into something that would incorporate another person? Doing something with them? I know that’s easier said than done and I also don’t have a solution, but it just feels like you would crest over the energy gap and you would figure that out”.
Relationships In The Events Industry: The Real Challenge
“In our industry, it’s even difficult to have a relationship with ourselves. And going back to self-care and putting yourself first before your career or even relationships”, says Thuy. “I think it’s difficult to even be in a relationship with ourselves”.
“A lot of times it’s about being able to put yourself first and make those priorities”, adds Will. “And one thing that’s been really helpful for me on the priority standpoint too, is aligning my priorities and my schedule as well. Sometimes I’m in a vegetative state by the end of the day. And so I literally tell people I’m dating. My favorite thing to do is sit on the couch and watch movies. Watch YouTube. Do anything other than going to this thing and do this thing”.
“If we’re really busy on the weekends and you have lots of shows and you’re doing lots of social events on the weekends, schedule time on Monday or whatever day during the week to go out and have a date on the weekday”, he continues. “Or go do a lunch date instead of having lunch by yourself. Being able to prioritize that time also really, really helps as well”.
“I think that passion’s a key thing in relationships in the events industry. There are very few people I know who’ve done it for even a couple of years that don’t have some sort of passion. Because it’ll burn you out. It has to be something else there besides money. It’s not a good work to live job. So I think that maybe the component of it for success would be, finding somebody else within the industry, or outside the industry possibly, that can match at least your passion for it”.
Relationships In The Events Industry: Conclusions
And that’s a wrap on this week’s edition of Event Brew! Regardless of whether or not you’re going to celebrate Valentine’s Day, we hope you enjoyed this episode. Because we feel like it’s important to tackle all the challenges related to the industry. And relationships in the events industry is definitely one of those topics. Don’t forget to tune in next week to see what is brewing!