How we relate to one another is a complex thing. It goes well beyond the standard "hey, how ya doin'" that we all trade every day. It even goes beyond our deepest thoughts because when communicating with someone else, we have to try to understand their deepest thoughts.
It's tricky, no doubt about it.
And here at GirlsAskGuys, that trickiness is exhibited in thousands of questions about relationships, dating, self-esteem, confidence and sex. People here freely admit they occasionally have no clue what the fu** is going on; that's what makes this place so great. Freedom of expression! Ask away! And now, we love taking some of your burning questions and bringing them to noted experts; authors, speakers, therapists, doctors, etc. You've already seen great chats with lifestyle coach and author Cheyenne Bostock, therapist and radio host Dr. Jane Greer, and pschotherapist and author Jonathan Alpert.
Now we go to another popular speaker, relationship coach, and author: Stephan LaBossiere. He has appeared everywhere from GQ to Men's Fitness to ABC and his mission is to "make relationships happier and more fulfilling." He is the author of "God Where Is My Boaz," which is a guide that helps women land the man of her dreams. Here, we come at him with all sorts of questions often seen on GaG, along with a few of our own:
GaG: The importance of confidence can’t be understated, right? But for those who suffer from a serious lack of confidence, what would your advice be?
Stephan: “I think the #1 issue is something we don’t teach our children enough: Not everyone is going to like us. No matter how awesome you are, no matter what you say, no matter what you do, there are going to be people who don’t like you. The people who have confidence problems internalize the negative feedback too much. Even in the midst of other individuals saying yeah, you are good enough and you do have something to offer, sometimes we fixate on the negative. I say, don’t internalize what you’re hearing from people who don’t see your value.
And regardless, you can’t achieve greatness without confidence. Confidence is a core trait that you must have if you want to succeed in relationships, business, whatever. People have to really embrace pushing themselves in this area, and they need to stop internalizing everyone who speaks out against them in any way.”
GaG: There’s certainly nothing wrong with female empowerment but with this rising tide, do you think women are actually starting to frown on chivalry? Or is chivalry still alive and well?
Stephan: “Well, to quote a comic, ‘it’s not dead, it’s just on life support.’ I think there are still women who enjoy it and value it, but there are also women out there who dismiss it. This discourages a lot of guys from engaging in it, you know? And then at some point, even if the woman dismissed it before, there will come a point where she’ll wonder she she’s not seeing that chivalry from the guy. She’ll take issue that he’s not doing any of these chivalrous things, so I know women still want it.
I just think that the women screaming out against it are in the minority. And you know how often the minority is often more vocal, so that’s what we’re hearing a lot. I just don’t believe they represent the majority; I don’t believe that’s how most women feel. Women really do want it, want to be respected, at their core.”
GaG: It seems that a lot of people have questions about reading the signs of the opposite sex. What’s your advice for helping people interpret body language?
Stephan: “When you’re trying to figure out if someone is really interested in you, the best way is to see how they handle your feelings. Let’s say you’re a guy and you’re spending a lot of money on this woman, and she doesn’t show any appreciation for that. If you tell her that this bothers you and she rejects it or dismisses it, something is off there. It’s the same if you flip it the other way: If you tell a guy something and he dismisses it and walks away, that person isn’t serious about you.
The other person has to be willing to embrace how you feel. Those who don’t are only looking out for themselves; they’re only interested in what they can get out of the relationship and that’s it. A lot of times in dating and relationships, there are moments when we have concerns and other feelings and we don’t always know how to express them. We worry we’ll scare the other person off, for example. But you have to be true to yourself and tell the person your genuine feelings. And if they’re serious about building something special with you, they’ll respond. It just won’t work if you’re always holding back.”
GaG: In your travels, what is probably the most-asked question people have for you?
Stephan: “I think it’s the question you just asked, about how to know if someone is interested. I really believe that’s everyone’s biggest concern. Plenty of people get in situations where the relationship isn’t what they thought it would be and that’s always a fear. It’s really the biggest fear, actually: Not knowing if the other person is serious about being with them.”
GaG: What’s your definition of a “healthy relationship?”
Stephan: “To me, a healthy relationship is one where there’s good respectful communication between two people who support each other, who know how to resolve their differences in a mature and calm manner. I know a lot of people say that there’s fighting in every relationship, that it’s normal. But no, it’s not normal at all. Sure, we’ll have disagreements and we won’t agree on everything, but there shouldn’t be this constant fighting and all this negative energy. A healthy relationship is supposed to be a place you want to run to. It’s the support system in your life. I mean, the world is stressful enough as it is and the last thing you need is to have a stressful relationship.”
GaG: One of the most popular questions we see is, “how soon is too soon for sex in a relationship?” And do you think people who sleep together too quickly have less chance of forging a solid partnership?
Stephan: “I’m going to say this— I have a spiritual background so I think it’d be great for people to wait as long as possible. But realistically, I know people won’t do that. I still say waiting is best, though; waiting until you know that 1. you know where you’re headed with the person, and 2. sex isn’t being done with the purpose of just trying to capture the other person. This happens mainly with women, I have to say, who might subconsciously think that if they really give it to this guy good, they’ll be set. Look, if you’re just going to be mad that he didn’t call you the next day, you had sex for the wrong reasons.
I’d say having sex too soon definitely decreases your chances of having a solid relationship because it clouds your judgment. You can get attached to someone before really knowing who they are. Some people find themselves in situations where they’re sexually attached to someone they really shouldn’t be dealing with. Then it’s harder to walk away when they know they should. It’s just a better idea to wait, I believe.”
GaG: And as of right now, what do you think the biggest difference between men and women and how they view relationships?
Stephan: “I don’t think there are that many differences, really. Men say there are no good women out there and women say there are no good men out there, so there’s a lot of negative perception on both sides. People are very jaded now; the majority of the world lacks healing and lots of individuals haven’t gotten the help they need. They have all kinds of issues and these make it hard to have healthy relationships.
If people are experiencing these issues, they need to see a professional, a therapist, a coach, somebody to talk to, so they can face those problems. It’s just that so many think that getting help is a bad thing. I was talking to a therapist earlier and we both agreed that there’s this negative stigma attached to getting help. This is why some are using the title of ‘coach’ to make it easier for people to approach them. The reality is that people are too conditioned to the idea that seeing somebody about their problems makes them crazy. We really need to change the narrative. They don’t understand the value of emotional health and we have to help them realize that value. You need an unbiased third-party opinion; it can be risky going to friends and family because you need the truth. People just have to be willing to embrace this goal and go after it.”
We'd like to thank Stephan for his time and comments, and we always appreciate honesty. That's the one thing you will always get from guys like LaBossiere and Bostock: Nothing but open, candid comments based on their lives and what they believe works for people. Gotta love that. For more, please check out Stephan on his Twitter and Facebook pages.
And stay tuned for more hot interviews!