It's no secret that we're fans of Andrea Syrtash. Her latest book, "He's Just Not Your Type (And That's a Good Thing)" offers women a unique perspective on men and relationships.
1) Tell us a little bit about you/your background as a relationship expert and life coach.
I've been a journalist and life coach since 2002. In 2003, a publisher asked me to interview hundreds of daters across the country for one of their books. I learned a lot from the daters I interviewed, and the research I did, and applied the knowledge to the advice columns I started to write and to the dating advice show I hosted at NBC. In 2006, I edited a book about how to transition into the 'real world' after colllege, and in 2007 I edited a book about how to have an effective relationship with your in-laws. I became a relationship writer unintentionally, but it's been a very natural fit. I'm passionate about helping people relate to each other - and to themselves - better.
Now that I've been covering the world of relationships for eight years, I've heard many of the same themes and issues pop up. My recent book, "He's Just Not Your Type (And That's a Good Thing)' was written for single women and my next (which will be released in 2011) is about marriage. In my books, I've covered how to navigate many different kids of relationships - but the principals are often the same. In any relationship, people want to be seen for who they are, celebrated, stimulated, challenged and accepted. It doesn't matter if it's an employer-employee relationship or a love connection; there are basic ways of interacting that apply across the board.
I was drawn to life coaching as I've always felt that effective relationships start with the individual. If you're miserable and unbalanced, your relationships will be affected. Too many people try to find a partner to save them rather than focus their attention on how they can become complete on their own. When you are engaged in your passions and aligned with your values, you are more likely to find love, anyway. The formal training I completed as a coach (through The Coaches Training Institute) gave me the tools to work with clients 1-1 and to do speaking engagements.
2) What inspired you to write,"He's Just Not Your Type (And That's a Good Thing)"?
Many years ago a friend of mine called me crying and told me she had accidentally fallen in love with a great man whom she did not mean to love. I think the idea for the book was born then. Even through her tears, I could tell she had peace in her heart because she was following it.
I've seen clients and friends struggle with feelings for men who were not their 'type' but guys who they felt connected to. I think when we focus on 'type' too much in dating, we typecast (e.g - 'All guys in finance are selfish') and miss potential connections. Forget the packaging and follow your feelings. Is this person a good partner for you?
Everything was crystallized for me, of course, when I fell in love with my own non-type (my husband, Michael) and had the same reaction (i.e 'I can't be with someone like him!'). After hearing many women say something similar and having the experience myself, I realized that so many of us prevent ourselves from being with men because they don't add up to the picture we had in our heads. The book is not about settling (or forgetting the role of attraction, which is certainly significant in dating); it's about being open to the fact that the love of your life may come in a different package than you imagined. Unlike some other dating guides, it's not about changing yourself to meet a man - it's about knowing yourself so you can meet the right one for you.
3) You write about different categories of Nontypes. Can you give us a quick explanation?
In the book, I divided the nontypes into 3 sections:
- The Departure NonType: the opposite of your usual choice - so if you think you only date extroverts, you may be surprised to know an introvert is better suited for you.
- The Superficial NonType: this is a guy who doesn't add up on paper for superficial reasons - he earns less than you do, he's shorter than you etc. You may say you would *never be with a guy under 5'10 and realize that height isn't a dealbreaker
- The Circumstantial NonType: this is a situation in which a guy adds up on paper, but his circumstances don't. For instance, you may think you would *never date long distance and find yourself confused when you fall for a guy who lives in another state.
There are so many 'types' of guys - the key is not generalizing about any of them! You may find your match with one of the types (e.g - "The Artist") who you swore you would never be with if he brings out great qualities in you.
4) What's next for you?
Great question! Some of the best parts of my career unfolded organically, so I'm open to whatever comes my way. In the meantime, I have a bunch of things cooking: I'm working on my next book (which will be released by Rodale Books in 2011), I'm planning to do more speaking engagements this winter and I'm in development to host shows about dating and relationships. I'll continue to coach clients individually and write advice columns, too.