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18. Modern dating and relationship advice from psychologist Dr. Ann Tran

Updated: Feb 3, 2022

This week’s guest is psychologist Ann Tran. She has the best sense of humor and she brings it to the rather serious field of psychology. She and I met through taking an improv class together. She gives her tips on how to stay together in a relationship during COVID and her best tips on how to date in 2020. We have several laughs along the way and I really appreciate her grounded approach to living your best life.

Ann Tran is a first-generation Vietnamese American. We discuss her background of growing up in a white dominant culture. She tells us about overcoming the inherent trauma passed down to her from her immigrant parents. And how her current clients are sharing their stories about their views on race and white supremacy.

Ann is also a dating coach and shares several hilarious stories about what it's like to swipe on the apps as a psychologist. She has seen some shit including past clients, future clients that she’s dated in the past, and dates that are in need of some Freudian support. She gives us a few tips on best practices for dating and being in a relationship.

Interview highlights:

Show notes:

Quotes from Ann Tran:

“It's kind of an interesting space to be in because the consciousness around the trauma and the acculturation stuff and the immigration stories, in some ways the parent generation is just about survival. They are trying to make it work, trying to figure it out. And then first-generation, you're holding all of this trauma in a way that’s passed down onto you.”

“I think it's really on people's minds right now because of the black lives matter movement and this election year. Clients are bringing it up to me their dynamics, their relationship with themselves in terms of their race and culture, and how they relate to white supremacy.”

“In some ways dating is the last frontier that happens. I like dating because it's really about your relationship with yourself and your ability to communicate and set boundaries.”

“One thing that I think is super helpful is for folks who are kind of afraid to delve into online dating or to delve into dating at all, then in some ways it's like lower stakes than ever, because you can do it from home. You don't have to invest so much, and you can kind of vet people in a way. So if you really chunk it and break it down and just say like, I can have a phone call with someone, I can have a video meeting with someone, then it feels a little bit more doable, especially for folks who are kind of jumping in for the first time.”

“I used to do date zero. It's not a first date, because a first date feels like we've already known each other when you're online dating you haven't really met yet. The first time we meet and we haven't even seen each other in person, we're going to have like a full movie and dinner thing. That's too much. So I think now the video date is going to replace date zero.”

“Who we connect to, or who we draw to us, is sort of a mirror of what's going on for us.”

“I think it bodes well, if you can communicate well and be on the same page or negotiate differences around how you feel about COVID then that's only going to translate to being able to communicate about other important things in a potential relationship.”

“I think what you said actually is the most important piece is like, let's all have a little bit more self-compassion.”

“I also think our bodies are in a different zone some of the time, because it's a pandemic we're in more of a fight or flight mode. We're in a different physiological state. I think our bodies might be in panic [mode]. Let me hold on to more stuff.”

“There's no better feeling than when you are genuinely laughing.”

“I teach about mindfulness and meditation and that doesn't necessarily mean I'm so good at translating it, but I try to take a couple of breaths.”

“Commutes allowed us to have a boundary in a way. And now we're inviting all of these different things into our homes and there's not so much of a boundary. Sometimes I'll do a fake walk to be like, this is the boundary, this is different. If I'm doing zoom for fun instead of work, I'll try to set it up in a different place in my apartment or set the lighting in a different way just to play with the boundaries a little bit.”

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