Dear Abby is sort of a lost art these days. For those seeking anonymous and impartial advice to things like work, sex, or social anxiety, some of the more popular choices these days include robotic self-help apps, under-30 life coaches on Skype, and the 24/7 Reddit pages. There is however, a better source for all of the nagging questions that nag us. It’s called The School of Life, and it’s headquartered in London with campuses around the world in locations like Tel Aviv, Melbourne, and Seoul. They “aim to develop emotional intelligence through the help of philosophy, literature, art, and culture.” The school hosts seminars and courses that focus on everyday well-being and broad topics such as “How to Worry Less About Money,” “Cultivate Resilience,” “How to Spend Time Alone,” and even, “How to Change the World.” This institution provides self-empowerment tools while also appealing to those who might have confidence but just want some answers to life’s ponderous quandaries—existential and not.
One course that will be offered this fall and taught by David Waters, a psychotherapist, writer, and faculty member of the school, is titled: “How to Have Better Conversations.” You could type this into one of those subreddits and see what happens, but isn’t being taught the answers to life’s curious little secrets so much better person-to-person? Surely, even Abigail Van Buren would have to agree.
Here, Waters gives some essential advice from his forthcoming class. Listen, learn, and start talking. — Vogue