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Opinion |  How to have better conversations about difficult things

Anna Sale is one of my favorite interviewers. As the host of WNYC Studios’ Death, Sex and Money, she has an uncanny ability to get her guests to open up about the most personal, tragic, beautiful, and embarrassing aspects of their lives, whatever they might be. It is from a childhood trauma, the death of a partner or losing control of its limbs.

The types of conversations Sale has on his show are hard to have in real life. So we rarely have it, even though our relationships, our society and even our politics are in desperate need of it. Luckily, Sale has written a new book, ‘Let’s Talk the Tough Things,’ which distills the lessons she’s learned over the years to the rest of us and offers wisdom for navigating the topics we avoid too. often: death, sex, money, family, identity.

We discuss how society has increasingly pushed the responsibility of having these difficult conversations about individuals, what it takes to be a good listener, the common mistakes people make when supporting grieving friends and family, why it is especially difficult to communicate with our family members, whether it is necessary to let go of our righteousness to preserve our relationships, the social stigma against talking about money , how to navigate sensitive discussions about race and gender, and the art of asking open-ended questions.

(A full transcript of the episode will be available at noon.)

“The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Rogé Karma and Jeff Geld; fact check by Michelle Harris; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld.

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