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New York Magazine Advice Columnist ‘Ask Polly’ On ‘How To Be A Person In The World’

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Heather Havrilesky has been giving advice to the heartsick and emotionally lost and confused. She’s the author of a weekly advice column called ‘Ask Polly’ featured in New York Magazine and now the author of a new book called How to be a Person in the World. Her advice is funny, smart, and geared towards those who may or may not be experiencing some sort of existential crisis. We talk about her advice style, her new book, and more.

Heather’s thoughts on how to move past a painful break-up:

"The first thing I’d say is mourning what it used to be is a huge part of embracing what it is. [You have to do] the really hard work of staying in that space where you’re saying  goodbye to who you were, because saying goodbye to a past relationship includes saying goodbye to the self you are with that person.  

It’s just like mourning someone’s death. If you don’t lean into it and feel all the things you’re meant to feel about losing someone…if you don’t fully mourn you kind of carry around this sadness with you and it affects other parts of your life."

What Heather's learned about how to a be a person in the world:

"I’ve learned not to feel guilty about every single new place I find myself in. I’ve learned to show myself a little bit of empathy. I don’t know how to love myself necessarily…but I feel like I’ve learned to accept what is.

As long as you’re impatient and angry at yourself you’re going to spread that energy to other people and feed that out to other people. When you give people empathy and love without them giving you anything in return and when you go out into the world and give everyone the benefit of the doubt that you meet...magical things happen, great things happen."  

Heather talks about the worst piece of advice she's ever gotten:

I was in college and my dad’s girlfriend told me that I should make sure to find a boyfriend and settle down with a nice guy...because after I got out of college I would find that there were very few interesting smart nice guys in the world.

The bottom line is if someone tells you to hurry up and settle down with a great guy immediately as soon as you can, marry the guy you’re with whoever he is…definitely consider questioning that advice.

Guest

Heather Havrilesky – author of the weekly advice column ‘Ask Polly’ featured in New York Magazine’s The Cut and author of the new book How to Be a Person in the World (On Twitter: @hhavrilesky)

We played this version of 'Devil Town' written by Daniel Johnston, performed by Bright Eyes: