Raven Gates has become the bachelorette Nick Viall depends on when the going gets tough on The Bachelor.

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"Raven is always like a breath of fresh air," Viall wrote of the clothing boutique owner from Arkansas who has a dry wit and blunt personality in his People blog.

Gates joined Viall on the St. Thomas group date along with Jasmine Goode, Corinne Olympios, Vanessa Grimaldi, Danielle Maltby, and Rachel Lindsay. Although the girls were just supposed to play volleyball, drink cocktails and have fun in the sun, everyone was emotional and frustrated.

"Being so many weeks in, of course it is no secret that time becomes more and more valuable. The tension that comes with group dates gets stronger, and people start to get anxious," said Viall, who has experience on back-to-back seasons of The Bachelorette starring Andi Dorfman and Kaitlyn Bristowe.

"I know at this time during Andi and Kaitlyn's season I certainly started to get stir crazy. So, planning a fun beach day seemed like it would be the perfect date... [with] some of the most beautiful scenery in the world."

But Viall quickly realized the day was going to be far from perfect.

"I felt like things were off to a good start, but it became clear quickly that nobody cared for the volleyball. I felt terrible for how emotional the women became during the date," Viall noted.

"I know for people like Vanessa and Danielle M., it's hard because they had such early one-on-ones. Did they feel like our connection was slipping? Or Jasmine, who I hadn't yet had any one on one time with? Of course I wanted that time, but I also wanted to enjoy whatever time we did share together in the best way possible."

Viall unfortunately had many questions floating around in his head at this point.

"I couldn't help but wonder what was going wrong. Was it me? Was it the date? Was it really just reality sinking in that things were starting to get serious? All I knew was that I wanted to make it clear that these women were important to me and hopefully turn the evening into a better time," the Bachelor explained.

Viall therefore remained "optimistic" about turning the date around.

"So I walked into the evening excited to spend time with all the women. I was still feeling a little anxious about the day, but it was Raven who put me at ease," Viall confessed. "She has this presence about her that immediately calms me while still feeling excited."
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Gates certainly may have a leg up on the competition at this point considering she already met Viall's parents and youngest sister Bella.

"I felt like we had made huge strides in our relationship back in Wisconsin," he said, "and this was an evening that made me confident that we were only getting stronger."