Mel Schilling has revealed her top tips on navigating those tricky conversations (Picture: Mel Schilling)
For over two decades, 51-year-old Mel worked as a qualified specialist in human behavioural performance and purpose, before becoming a coach on the Australian edition of Married At First Sight since 2016. Five years later, such was her expertise that she was drafted in to help with the UK version.
It’s not just romantic relationships Mel’s an expert in though, she’s also knows her stuff about platonic ones.
Speaking on the final episode of Metro.co.uk’s Smut Drop podcast, Mel shared her own tips on what to do when you have a friend who hasn’t found a match made in heaven.
She told host Miranda Kane: ‘A lot of people have a friend in their life going through a phase where they’re in perhaps a toxic or a dysfunctional relationship. And that poses the question, “what do I do with that”?
Being ‘gentle’ with your friend, who may feel ashamed of their toxic relationship, is integral (Picture: Getty Images)
‘My first bit of advice is don’t go in hard criticising the partner. Because chances are, if your friend is in a toxic or dysfunctional relationship, there’s probably some shame associated with that for them.
‘If you go in hard, your friend is going to get on the defensive and probably want to protect you know, that their pride or ego at this point. They might really want to maintain their privacy because they might feel a bit embarrassed about the relationship they’re in.
‘So if you go in telling them “your partner’s a d***head, you’ve got to get rid of him or her”, that’s not really going to work.’
The key, Mel says, is to be gentle.
(L-R) Married at First Sight UK experts Charlene Douglas, Mel Schilling and Paul C. Brunson (Picture: Matt Monfredi)
The Australian continued: ‘I find a better approach is to – in your own mind – take the partner out of the equation and just talk to your friend one on one. Do it in terms of saying something like “I’m concerned about you, I’m noticing you’re not as happy as you usually are”.
‘Talk about specific behaviours that your friend is demonstrating and show your concern for them as an individual, that’s the best place to start. That means you’re not going to be stepping over any boundaries in terms of their privacy.
‘And while you’re doing this, it’s important to remind the person that you love them unconditionally. Make it clear to them “if things do get tricky in a relationship, you can come to me.”’
In the podcast episode, Mel also discusses where to find your inner confidence, how to define chemistry in the internet age and the ‘red flag’ she was forced to abandon – her aversion to men who liked heavy metal music – when she met her husband Gareth Brisbane.
Mel and Gareth share a nine-year-old daughter together named Madison (Picture: Mel Schilling)
The relationship expert also explained why, on Married at First Sight, she struggles to keep her cool when trouble is brewing in front of the cameras.
‘It’s very clear to our couples when something is playing out in front of me which I’m not comfortable with,’ she explained.
‘Even the producers notice. They say, “when you start to move to the front of your chair, we know something is coming.”
‘I don’t even know when I do it! But I can’t sit back during everything. If someone is treating someone else poorly, if there’s an inequality or disrespect I cannot sit back and allow that to happen.’
You can listen to Mel Schilling’s episode in full by clicking here.
Miranda Kane has steered Smut Drop through sexy and scandalous seas (Picture: Metro.co.uk)
Today’s episode marks the final installment of the Smut Drop podcast.
The series has been hosted by Miranda Kane, who went into sex work aged 23 to embrace ‘good, consensual sex in all its sticky, naked glory.’ Going by the name Melody, she could rake in around £2,000 on a good night.
Ahead of the launch of Smut Drop in March 2022, she told Metro.co.uk: ‘Too often sex is painted out to be shameful and secretive, and something to protect us from – when really, knowledge is the best source of protection. ‘
Miranda would later go into comedy, manage club nights and continually work to dispel the misconceptions around sex work.
To catch up with Smut Drop, you can find all the episodes by clicking here.
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Married at First Sight star Mel Schilling on how to have THAT conversation.