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Ted Lasso’s Playbook for Winning Relationships

ted lasso what we can learn about relationships

What We Can Learn About Relationships from Ted Lasso

Many of us have fallen in love with the earnest and likable Ted Lasso character. His quirks are endearing. He’s authentic and witty, with an enviable chipper attitude about life. 

As a therapist who specializes in relationships, what I find compelling about Ted Lasso is that he understands that our happiness depends upon the quality of our relationships. I thought it would be fun to highlight what we can learn about relationships from Ted Lasso

Show Up for Others

We repeatedly see Ted show up for others in meaningful ways.  He is fully present and engaged with everyone. He doesn’t scroll through his phone, half listening. Many couples complain their partners are on their phones and don’t listen to them. People want to be seen and heard, and Ted excels at this. 

An especially touching moment in the show is the way Ted shows up for Rebecca at her father’s funeral. 

She is overwhelmed trying to deliver the eulogy for a father that never showed up for her. She begins mumbling the Rick Astley song “Never Gonna Give You Up,” and then when she gets to the “Never gonna make you cry” part, she gets stuck and starts crying. Ted starts singing loudly where Rebecca left off, “Never gonna say goodbye… Never gonna tell a lie and hurt you.” Only then does everyone join in. 

Imagine if we showed up in our relationships like Ted Lasso. This would build trust and our partners would feel truly valued, which is exactly what we want from them.

Be Yourself

If there ever was a character completely comfortable with who he is, it’s Ted Lasso.

During press conferences, he’s relaxed and jovial and says whatever goofy but insightful thing that’s on his mind.

Clearly, gosh darn it, he likes himself. Ted doesn't worry about what others think of him. This is something many of us learn as we age. We realize that the people that like us for who we are will stick around, and the ones that leave don’t really matter. So, we let go of the pressure to impress others, which is very freeing. 

Be Vulnerable

Ted is comfortable being vulnerable and not knowing everything. This allows him to be curious. And by being curious, he learns a lot more about others, and they open up to him. We see this in Roy Kent, who continues to grow more emotionally vulnerable - and likable - with each episode.

If we were more like Ted, we’d share how we were feeling, and the thoughts - even the scary ones - that we have. We would be more curious about our partner’s perspective and make it safe for them to share their inner thoughts and feelings. And wouldn’t that make us feel closer?

Cultivate Happiness

One of the defining characteristics of Ted Lasso is how tremendously cheerful and upbeat he is. He exudes positivity.  

How can he be so happy?  He’s living 2,000 miles from home. He misses his son. His wife left him. His team is losing badly. He’s coaching a sport he doesn’t know much about in a culture that’s foreign to him where they drink tea, which he hates. 

But Ted is relentlessly happy. How does he do this? He chooses to. 

Ted’s happiness and authenticity is rooted in how he lives his life.  He believes in the Golden Rule. He says, “Doing the right thing is never the wrong thing.” He is genuinely kind and enjoys doing nice things for others. Wouldn’t we all love to taste the homemade cookies Ted bakes for Rebecca? 

One of the things many people struggle with is negative self-talk. But not Ted. He quickly moves on from mistakes.  "You know what the happiest animal on Earth is? It's a goldfish. Y'know why? It's got a 10-second memory. Be a goldfish." 

The opposite of negativity is Ted’s monumental optimism. "It may not work out how you think it will or how you hope it does. But believe me, it will all work out."  Imagine if we embodied this optimism. Wouldn’t it help us to be more flexible, mindful and content in our everyday lives?

Finally, gratitude is a key ingredient in cultivating happiness. Ted appreciates the little things, whether it’s playing video games online with his son or tasting his beloved hometown barbecue sauce. 

Being grateful for your partner and expressing gratitude to them are one of the easiest ways to strengthen your relationship. It’s as simple as saying, “Thank you. I really appreciate you.”

Help Others Be the Best Versions of Themselves

In the best relationships, partners support each other’s dreams and encourage one another to become the absolute best versions of themselves. They grow together and joyously celebrate their partner’s successes. 

Ted Lasso is brilliant at this. He tells Trent Crimm, "For me, success is not about the wins and losses. It's about helping these young fellas be the best versions of themselves on and off the field."

One of the greatest ways Ted helps others be their best is through his belief in them. Remember the symbolic “Believe” sign he taped to the locker room wall? In Season 3, Episode 5, he rips it up and delivers one of his finest and most riveting coaching speeches of the series. 

He says, “Belief doesn’t just happen because you hang something up on a wall…To believe in yourself. To believe in one another. Man, that’s fundamental to being alive. And look, if you can do that, if each of you can truly do that, can’t nobody rip that apart.”

As a therapist, I work every day with people struggling to believe in themselves. If you can learn to do that, life expands exponentially, you can have meaningful relationships, and you can experience the love and happiness you deeply desire. 

If that’s the only thing you are left with after 3 glorious, entertaining seasons of Ted Lasso, it was time well spent. 

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