Slate's Dear Prudence

Slate's Dear Prudence


Advice, commentary, and conversation from Mallory Ortberg, author of Slate's Dear Prudence column.


Dear Prudence: The "Devil's Advocate" Edition, Part 2  

Carvell and Mallory jump right back in. A letter-writer complains that her brother is a “man whore” — but first, we need to talk about who’s throwing glass at your family events. Then, should I tell my fiancé that I’m pretty sure I once slept with his best man? And finally: a knock-down, drag-out fight over whether a letter-writer should humor her father’s insistence that her boyfriend ask permission to marry her. Hear more Prudence by joining Slate Plus:

Dear Prudence: The "Devil's Advocate" Edition, Part 1  

Just say no to the “Don’t Tread On Me” snake. Mallory and returning listener favorite Carvell Wallace tackle and disagree over thorny questions like: should you intervene when your sister invites your mom to her wedding — but not your stepdad? When your adult sister is a cheater, how do you support her through her divorce? And finally, how do you break it to your white friend that she’s not as “woke” as she thinks she is? Plus: a love letter to bisexuals.
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Dear Prudence: The "Boundaries" Edition  

This week, your questions discussed in the cozy setting of Prudie’s literal bedroom. That might sound overly-intimate, but it’s not as intimate as going to a sweat lodge with your coworkers! Our guest is writer Lauren O’Neal, and together she and Prudie tackle how to set boundaries when your boyfriend’s family comes over every day without knocking, what to say to a mother who’s shunting her paid nanny duties off onto her teenage children, how to give your friend with cancer the support you never got, and whether to dump a boyfriend who refuses to call you by your name (uh… yep). Plus: tips for traveling through time on TV.

We want you to tell us about the podcasts you enjoy, and how often you listen to them. So we created a survey that takes just a couple of minutes to complete. If you fill it out, you'll help Panoply to make great podcasts about the things you love. And things you didn’t even know you loved. To fill out the survey, just go to Hear more Prudence by joining Slate Plus:

Dear Prudence: The "Creative Solutions" Edition  

Ann M. Martin and the gay Baby-Sitters Club, plus some unsolicited advice to a letter-writer who’d like to ruin his sons’ lives from beyond the grave and can’t find a lawyer to help him do it. SkyMall nostalgia. Then, Prudence and guest Rebeca Sanchez answer your questions as creatively as they’re able: how to talk to in-laws so obsessed with death they may as well be funeral crashers? How to repair the friendship between your husband and your best friend — which you most likely ruined? Your friend charged you $2 on Venmo for a dinner he cooked at his house — WTF? Should you marry a man you don’t love so you can be the mother his daughter needs?  Finally, reflections on watching movies whose plot line is basically, “Something Bad Didn’t Happen.” Hear more Prudence by joining Slate Plus:

Dear Prudence: The "Talk About It Now" Edition  

The great lie that is, “they don’t really mean it.” Mallory and her sister, writer Laura Turner, bring some family wisdom to this week’s show. First: is it alright to ask your family to stop texting you the news of relatives’ deaths? What about when your family expects you to take in five young children — indefinitely? Then: how do you talk to a friend who’s always been your creative companion, but suddenly won’t acknowledge your success? Plus: the ethics of sharing cigarettes with your 18-year-old daughter, and — spoiler alert, Mallory loves spoilers — some reflections on the bullies of Stranger Things. Hear more Prudence by joining Slate Plus:

Dear Prudence: The "Petty Revenge" Edition  

End the tyranny of the snooze button. Prudie and writer Mikki Kendall answer your questions, and let’s just get one thing out of the way right now: don’t try to attempted-murder Mikki by turning on an electric fence while she’s touching it; that won’t go over any better than writing your adopted daughter completely out of your will, then asking her to host Thanksgiving for 50 people. Plus: killing your mean-girl co-worker with kindness (and some friendly plant-poisoning tips); whether a lifelong bachelor will ever change his mind on marriage (and whether that matters); and how exactly to handle a colleague who’s vowed to keep you from ever adopting a dog. Finally: the case for 2016-B. Hear more Prudence by joining Slate Plus:

Dear Prudence: The "Do it In Song" Edition  

Comedians W. Kamau Bell and Hari Kondabolu of the podcast Politically Re-Active join Prudie to dispense advice — sometimes in song! — about how to get a needy ex out of your house, how best to deal with a deadbeat husband, and how to figure out if your boyfriend is only into you because you’re Asian. Plus, Ayn Rand and the true identity of Chuck E. Cheese. Hear more Prudence by joining Slate Plus:

Dear Prudence: The "Time is Not an Apology" Edition  

Prudence and guest Lisa McIntire on when you should rock the boat, why people feel entitled to be rude to their friends, and how time passing does not equal an apology. First though, you should go see Bad Moms… the audience, that is. More thoughts on HR and how capitalism is a hellscape, with apologies to the robber barons among our listeners.  Now to your questions: A parent is allowing their 18-year-old daughter to work out of the house as a phone sex operator, on the condition that she doesn’t talk to her younger siblings about the job — and doesn’t trust her to keep that promise. A woman’s friend keeps telling her that she’ll change her mind about marriage and kids — and setting the her up on dates she doesn’t want to go on. And finally: the case for plausible-deniability ashtrays. Hear more Prudence by joining Slate Plus:

Dear Prudence: The "Little Red Hen" Edition  

A woman dropped family, friends, and job to move across the country for a relationship that didn’t work out — and things got worse from there. Is she doomed to make poor decisions for the rest of her life? A man dies, and his obituary lists a woman who barely remembers him as “the love of his life.” Should she try to find out what happened, or let him take his secret to the grave? A daughter mentioned long-term care insurance to her mom — and got an earful from her aunt about what a terrible person she is. Wait, what? Dear Prudence and Slate’s Dan Kois consider these questions and issue some reminders: we’re all gonna die someday, and being a couple of hours late to a grown man’s birthday party is only a crime in the movies. Hear back episodes of Prudence at

Dear Prudence: The "Read the Room" Edition  

Prudence flies solo and argues with — or against — her better angels. She anoints the Worst Commercial of the Year and advises a woman wondering if she has to let a family member with money trouble live in her empty investment apartment. But Prudie loves it when you send her letters that don’t have to do with someone possibly getting put out on the street, and vastly prefers questions about things like meat-eating parents trolling their vegetarian daughter-in-law. For example: should those parents pay the hospital bill when they feed their grandson a cheeseburger he’s not supposed to eat — and he gets serious food poisoning as a result? Plus, whether or not you’re “reading too much into it” when your friend offers your husband a massage, and how much say your family gets over your armpit hair. 

Hear more episodes of Prudence at by joining Slate Plus: Visit

Dear Prudence: The “Self Indulgence vs. Self-Care” Edition  

Does HR really work for employees — or is it just there for the company? Prudence shares a listener perspective. Then, Prudie and friend of the show Jos Lavery counsel a woman who’s essentially written in just to say how great her life is. A listener asks how to restrain their financially irresponsible fiancé before they both end up broke. Continuing the theme: a husband won’t stop smoking even though his doctors have ordered him to — and he blames his wife for conspiring with them.  And finally: is this what a midlife crisis is like? 

Dear Prudence: The "You Can’t Treat People That Way" Edition  

Jasmine Guillory is back in the studio with Prudie to talk about how to handle a partner who doesn’t believe in antidepressants, counsel a woman in an emotionally abusive relationship with a physically disabled man, and, for a bit of relief, adjudicate a parking-space dispute. Plus: do you, or do you not, have to go see the new Ghostbusters movie? 

Hear the most Prudie you can by joining Slate Plus: visit to sign up.

Dear Prudence: The Unconditional Love Edition  

Today’s questions are about life’s unfairness and the meaning of unconditional love; Dear Prudence and writer Carvell Wallace roll up their sleeves and get tough. A woman writes with a question about what she owes her troubled, and now-adult, adopted daughter; and an aunt wonders whether she must spend her savings on a treatment that might -- or might not -- save her terminally-ill nephew’s life. Remember, you can always hear more questions and advice by subscribing to Slate Plus: visit

Dear Prudence: The "Butt Out" Edition  

Mallory and Slate’s Aisha Harris talk about butting in where you don’t belong. Should you call Child Protective Services because you think someone’s kids aren’t learning enough algebra? How do you deal with a colleague making inappropriate remarks about your employees’ personal lives? And as always, there’s more of everything at Slate Plus -- visit

Dear Prudence: The "Regret Baby" Edition  

Dear Prudence and Slate’s Christina Cauterucci take on behavior that goes from bad to worse: a “toxic friend” who uses her mental health issues to get away with abusing her friends; a man trying to shame his wife into having a “regret baby” seven years after they both agreed to an abortion; and a father who wants to tell his preteen sons how much he doesn’t love their mother. Plus, Prudie advises a woman wondering if she can move into her own place even though she’s happily married, encourages a listener to go for it with an eager ex, and meditates on weak endings and the deadening managerial mantra, “If there’s time to lean, there’s time to clean.”

Full episodes of the Dear Prudence podcast are available exclusively to Slate Plus members. Listen to old episodes at

The "Transactional Relationships" Edition  

Mallory Ortberg and guest Jos Lavery discuss why we feel so compelled to discuss human relationships as transactions, and discuss how to handle family members who might be committing insurance fraud.

The "Sisters!" Edition  

How do you tactfully let your sister know it’s time for deodorant? Or that you hate her dog? And how do you protect your sister from your overbearing parents? This week, Mallory Ortberg and guest Jasmine Guillory bring their advisory, legal, and child-of-therapists expertise to bear on the thorny questions of sisterhood, including a candid, live call with a listener (available only at Slate Plus!) Plus, Mallory reflects on being the Jack Johnson of road rage, responds to people who think it's just fine to give away your mom's dog, and spends a few minutes reveling in the newly-released footage of Jerry Lewis' long-lost Holocaust clown movie.

The "Is This a Real Question?" Edition  

Mallory assesses the emotional fitness of people who spill drinks on themselves and tackles your questions with Alison Green of Ask a Manager. Is the letter about "a series of Spider-Man piss revelations" real or fake? How do you manage a recently dumped friend whose behavior is endangering others? And why did Panera hire that bizarre-sounding woman to talk about "clean salads"? And what to tell a letter-writer whose gay son wants to go to religious college? Well, for that last one you'll have to subscribe at, where you can hear the full version of the show, including Mallory's reflections on her own adolescence. 

Coming Soon: Dear Prudence  

Every week, Mallory Ortberg (aka Dear Prudence) tackles problems about love, life, and everything in between. 

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