Looking for a few minutes of relationship wisdom? These speakers offer diverse perspectives on love, dating, and relationships—and this is just the tip of the iceberg. 

 In a world where dating and relationships are only growing more complex, it’s comforting to have so many knowledgeable people to lean on. Whether you want to up your flirting game, find the one, or learn the signs of a potentially volatile relationship, these TED speakers have you covered. 

“True love that is not backed up by the right action is not true love.”

We’ve compiled a list of our favorite TED talks about dating, love, and relationships. Read on for some sage wisdom, right from the experts themselves. 

Katie Hood – The Difference Between Healthy and Unhealthy Love

“It’s important to remember it’s not how a relationship starts that matters, it’s how it evolves.”

Katie Hood the difference between healthy and unhealthy relationships TED Talk

Not all love is healthy love. In this TED Talk, Katie Hood, the former CEO of the One Love Foundation, outlines the warning signs of unhealthy love. These are red flag behaviors that if unaddressed can escalate and become abusive. 

She highlights five features of unhealthy love to look out for: intensity, isolation, extreme jealousy, belittling, and volatility. These things can be hard to spot at the beginning of a relationship, but Hood says keeping an eye out for them is essential for your well-being. Abusive relationships become more difficult to leave over time, so it’s important to know the signs.

Jean Smith – The Science of Flirting: Being a H.O.T. A.P.E.

“This is where people often get it wrong: they want to attract everybody. But no, you just want to attract those people who match with you.”

Jean Smith Ted Talk on The Science of Flirting

Social anthropologist Jean Smith has a method for flirting and recognizing when someone is flirting with you. She calls it the H.O.T. A.P.E. method. After researching the flirting behaviors of four major cities—New York, London, Paris, and Stockholm—she discovered patterns in the way singles try to attract one another.

The six-letter acronym provides a blueprint for flirting as well as a way to tell if someone is a good potential partner for you. If the H.O.T. A.P.E. method fails, it’s probably a sign to look for a connection elsewhere.

Dr. Terri Orbuch – Is It Lust or Is It Love?

“You’ve heard the phrase ‘love is blind?’ Well at the beginning of a relationship, lust makes you blind.”

Terri Orbuch TED Talk on Lust or Love

Relationship researcher Dr. Terri Orbuch outlines the difference between love and lust. While the states seem similar at first glance, Dr. Orbuch illustrates how love and lust are two different things altogether.

She explains the four key differences between love and lust, highlighting how each affects a relationship. Love, she says, is a more complicated state than lust. While lust is at its highest at the beginning of a relationship, love gets stronger as your connection grows.

Femi Ogunjinmi – How To Tell If Someone Truly Loves You

“When we examine love in a break-up, I believe one of three things has happened. It’s either: one, there was no love at the beginning of the relationship to start with; two, there was something bigger than the love that broke the relationship; or three, the love declined.”

Femi Ogunjinmi TED Talk on How to Tell if Someone Truly Loves You

In this powerful talk, relationship coach Femi Ogunjinmi illustrates that true love is a choice you make. Instead of a static state of being, to be in love is an active decision, something you have to choose and work for. True love, Ogunjinmi says, is seen in your actions toward your partner. 

He highlights different kinds of love and explains how they’re different from the commitment and care required by a serious romantic relationship. Agape love, he says, is the truest form of love, and it is the only way to sustain a relationship.

Bela Gandhi – The Big Secret to Finding Lasting Love

“Now, I’m not saying that there’s anything wrong with tall, or younger, or attractive. Attraction is really important in romantic relationships. But what I am saying is when you choose for the qualities that make you happiest in your romantic relationships, it will lead to the best most soulful love of your life.”

Bela Gandhi TED Talk on The Big Secret to Finding Lasting Love

Nobody teaches you to find a partner. In her career, Bela Gandhi discovered that singles’ dating checklists were oftentimes stopping them from finding love. Instead of the usual fare—“tall” is the common request from ladies, while guys want someone “attractive”—she’s teaching singles to redesign their checklists.

By looking at non-physical traits and examining the other important relationships in her clients’ lives, she helps them reimagine their “dream partner” and find their true dating priorities. Gandhi’s goal is to get her clients to stop looking for what they want in a partner and start looking for what she calls “elevator” qualities. And her approach seems to work—as of the day she gave this talk, none of her clients have gotten divorced.

Brené Brown – The Power of Vulnerability

“What we know is that connection, the ability to feel connected, is neurobiologically how we’re wired; it’s why we’re here.”

Brene Brown TED Talk on The Power of Vulnerability

Brené Brown is a storyteller and researcher who studies human connection: the ways we get it and what stands in the way of connection. Her research led her to look closer at what people who practice “whole-hearted living” all have in common. This group of people, “the whole-hearted”, she comes to define as those who repeatedly show the courage to be imperfect, in their lives and relationships. They also seem to understand that vulnerability is crucial for connection. Examples of what people consider acts of vulnerability include being the first to say “I love you” in a new relationship, being the one to initiate sex with their partner, and being willing to invest in a relationship that may or may not work out. Brown says, “These people show the willingness to do something when there are no guarantees.”  

Nancy Benitez – How to Find Your Perfect Partner

“I needed to take a long look at all my fails, at all my unhappiness, and not depend on anyone else. If I wanted anything to change, I needed to change. I chose to be the victor and no longer the victim.”

Nancy Benitez How to Find Your Perfect Partner

After a stint on an online dating platform that didn’t lead to the fulfilling love she was looking for, men’s dating coach Nancy Benitez decided to try a different approach. Instead of looking for a partner somewhere around her, she started looking inward to find her perfect partner. 

In this talk, she highlights the questions she used to gain clarity on her journey. She advises questioning yourself and your patterns. In order to change your life, you need to change your mindset. By practicing self-reflection and allowing the journey to unfold naturally, you can find beautiful, strong, authentic connections.

Ronit Ranjan – How To Find Love Again

“I realized the vulnerability is the solution. I realized that the very love I’m looking for from outside is nowhere. It’s right here in front of me, but I’m too caught up looking here and there. But I need to look within.”

Ronit Ranjan TED Talk on How to Find Love Again

Even if we’re fortunate to spend most of our lives with the same partner, most of us will fall in love many times throughout our lives. Beginning with his earliest heartbreaks, life coach Ronit Ranjan illustrates that looking for a relationship is not the same as looking for the right relationship. By trying to force a connection with incompatible people, he discovered the secret to finding fulfilling love.

By getting comfortable being alone, Ranjan learned to do the difficult internal work necessary to find the right relationship. In this talk, he breaks down the process into three steps to help you reach a place where you’re ready to find love again

Anne Power – Attachment Theory is the Science of Love

“You may say there are no new ideas about love, and I would say this isn’t romance. It’s science. Attachment theory sees love as part of our evolutionary design.”

Anne Power TED Talk Attachment Theory is the Science of Love

In this enlightening talk, therapist Anne Power explains the history and science of attachment theory. Our ideas of love begin to form early in life, and researchers have spent decades studying the causes and effects of our childhood and adult attachment styles.

Understanding your own attachment style and how it might impact your relationship can save you headaches and heartbreak down the line. Power explains the basics of attachment with three points: all of our behavior makes sense in context, feeling safe with others enables us to learn, and you can find safety by slowing down and thinking clearly.

Amanda McCracken – How Longing Keeps Us From Healthy Relationships

“I will tell my daughter: You cannot be attracted to a healthy and loving relationship until you stop longing for the perfect one. “

AManda McCraken TED Talk on How Longing Keeps Us From Healthy Relationships

Can you be in love with longing? Amanda McCracken thinks so. After her essay exploring her personal decision to wait for a committed relationship to have sex for the first time went viral, 35-year-old McCracken began to wonder if she might be in love with the idea of perfection she could never actually find.

Intimacy requires being vulnerable, and that can be scary. Longing allows us to hide from our fear of making the wrong choice, but if it’s not kept in check it can also stop us from finding the relationship we’re longing for. Making a change is hard, but it’s the only way to create the life you want to live.

Michelle Drouin – Online Love & Infidelity. We’re in the Game, What Are the Rules?

“Today’s world is a totally new world. Not only the rules have changed, but it is an entirely new game. Mobile phones, social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter—they have changed the game.” 

Michelle Drouin TED Talk on Online Love and Infidelity

The internet has permanently changed the way dating works. Instead of approaching in person, younger people especially are approaching each other digitally. Dating sites and apps have made the options in our dating pools essentially endless. So in this new dating landscape, what are the rules?

Dr. Michelle Drouin, a developmental psychologist, has studied just this. People misrepresent themselves online all the time, and this has a disturbing effect on our relationships. She describes the ways people communicate online, what it means to keep someone on the “back burner”, and so much more.  

Want more advice on how you can up your game? Check out our blog for advice on first-date outfits, making conversation, vulnerability, and so much more.