Bustle Exclusive

Joey Reveals He Got A Bachelor Lingo Crash Course Midseason

An awkward moment helped him realize the difference between “falling” and “falling in love.”

Joey Explains 'Bachelor' Lingo & "Falling In Love" With Kelsey
Disney/Jan Thijs

Is The Bachelor actually an English class? Throughout Season 28, the terms used to express feelings between Joey Graziadei and his contestants have loomed over every relationship. Specific words, especially how and when they’re used, have played an outsize role in how pairings progress — and Joey reveals to Bustle that he got a crash course in this during Week 6 in Montreal.

“Most of the women said they were falling for me,” he recalls. “And I think I said to one of the producers or someone, like, ‘I can’t believe all these women said they’re falling in love with me.’ And they’re like, ‘Hold hold hold. They didn’t say falling in love ... there are levels to this.’”

The mistake helped Joey understand what he calls “Bachelor Lingo,” which isn’t new to the franchise. Anyone who’s watched a season knows that affection is often distilled into a collection of tried-and-true statements: You can be “falling for” the lead, for example, but probably shouldn’t say you’re “falling in love” with them until later in the season. (In their book How To Win The Bachelor, Chad Kultgen and Lizzy Pace codify these terms as “Love Levels.”)

Fine-Tuning The Code

The semantics make sense for the fast-paced format of The Bachelor, where contestants have limited time (and only so many words) to get their feelings across. Understanding that helped Joey fine-tune his own “code” of how to express himself this season.

“Falling, to me, is the idea that you’re finally feeling something, and you’re starting to actually see a future,” he says.

Disney/Jan Thijs

As for “falling in love,” which Joey told Kelsey Anderson and Daisy Kent during March 11’s Fantasy Suites? Joey says that’s about “getting to the point where you’re like, Not only can I see a future, but I think I’m actually starting to feel feelings of love and I can really see this get to that point.”

Joey hasn’t said he’s “in love” yet. With any luck, that could come later. “It’s important to hold that special, most important feeling for one person.” (Given recent Bachelor history, that’s a good decision.)

A Season Full Of Bachelor-isms

While fans have to wait to see whether Joey gets to that final step, this season has already leaned heavily on the franchise lexicon. For example, Kelsey was careful to tell Joey she was “not falling, you know, but ... starting to trip” during their first one-on-one in Spain, making her Fantasy Suites confession all the more meaningful.

Later, at Hometowns, Maria Georgas grappled with the decision to say she was in love with Joey. She didn’t do it, only using the word “love” moments before the Hometowns rose ceremony. Alas, it didn’t save her from being eliminated.