We all know there's advice, and then there's advice... There's advice you can swiftly Google and then there's advice you can only get from a 7-minute voicenote from your best friend whispering in a public bathroom.
While we trust that the internet's vastness has covered you regarding the former, the latter is a special kind of advice that we'd like to seek out, if only for our own benefit as well.
And so, this week we chatted with Catriona Boffard to uncover her bestie-worthy advice.
Catriona Boffard is an accredited clinical sexologist, psychotherapist, sexuality researcher and speaker. She is an expert in the field of sexual behaviour, intimacy, relationships and mental well-being, with a particular interest in helping people embrace their sexuality and helping people overcome unwanted sexual pain. She is currently completing her doctorate in psychotherapy. She runs her practice online, consulting with clients from around the world, and has her own podcast called Asking for a Friend, which covers all those topics around sex that we feel too shy to ask about. She is also the instructor for sex & intimate connection with My Mastery, South Africa’s leading online learning platform.
1. What's a piece of advice that you find yourself repeating often?
Stop guessing and just talk to them. Both in my work and personal life, I am always saying this. In general, we are terrible at actually bringing up hard topics and talking things out. While I also struggle with it, everything is always better after an honest conversation.
2. What's the one tip that you wish people would take more seriously?
If the person you’re interested in isn’t consistent, they are not worth it. Consistency is one of my most valued traits in other people, especially those I’m close to. And so often we let people into our lives that don’t show up for us in the way we show up for them. It’s just not worth it!
3. If you could turn back time, what advice do you wish you had taken earlier?
You don’t have to do it all, and you don’t have to do it all by yourself. Asking for help is the biggest lesson I’ve learnt in my adult life and I’ve become really good at it. I wish I had realised that when I was younger and not believed that in order to succeed I had to kill myself by doing so much.
4. What's the best piece of advice you've ever received?
That’s it’s ok not to be ok… One of my first-ever therapists said this to me and ever since (that was 13 years ago), it’s something I’ve repeated to friends, family, clients and whoever will listen really. Crazy that I needed to be given permission to not be ok, but it was and still is one of the most powerful things anyone has ever said to me.
5. What's something that is seen as "good" advice that you ignore or don't believe in?
This one is really relevant to me at the moment as a first time mother, but people tend to offer unsolicited parenting advice based on their own experience. It has made me doubt my capabilities. And I don’t think it’s just specific to parenting. While most people offer advice with the best of intentions, they often do so without knowing the full picture or understanding the complexities of my personal situation. So it’s not about a specific bit of advice, but rather how it’s not always helpful to take on what someone is advising.
6. What advice are you taking this year?
There are two things… This year I’m trying to be more intentional with what I do and how I do it. I don’t have the luxury of much free time, and so what I fill my time with outside of my little one will only be things that I want to do or will benefit me in some way. Then the second relates as much to my work as it does to me personally: I’m working at “taking on” less of others’ concerns, by trying to focus on my own emotions and needs first, and thereafter focus on being able to support others. You can’t give from an empty cup, as the saying goes.
7. What’s your advice for someone who wants to have better sex tonight?
It might sound boring, but talk about what you like! We all tend to do the deed but rarely openly speak about it. Yet talking more openly about your experience of sex with your partner is correlated with a more satisfying sex life. Learn to share about what turns you on and what you’d like more of, instead of criticising or dismissing something your partner does.
8. What’s your favourite quote?
“The quality of our relationships determines the quality of our lives.” — Esther Perel.
You realise how true this statement is when you are battling through a difficult relationship (of any sort) and see how much it impacts you. Be selective about who you give your energy to and be intentional about who gets to be in your space.