How to Talk to People


On this season of How to Talk to People we explore the barriers to relationship building and why—in a world of endless potential for connection—so many people still feel alone. From the the struggle to prioritize non-romantic relationships, to just feeling uncertain of what to talk about with strangers, host Julie Beck and producer Rebecca Rashid unravel the complexities of putting yourself out there—in hopes of revealing the rewards of showing up. 
Produced by Rebecca Rashid and hosted by Julie Beck. Editing by Jocelyn Frank and Claudine Ebeid. Fact-check by Ena Alvarado. Engineering by Rob Smierciak. Music by Tellsonic (“The Whistle Funk”). 
Talk to How to Talk to People—by “talk,” we mean write to us—at To support this podcast, and get unlimited access to all of The Atlantic’s journalism, become a subscriber.

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Recent Reviews
  • JnE 2010
    Only got thru 7 minutes…..
    and I had to stop because I couldn’t stand the talking in questions? Upspeak makes me cringe. I expected WAY more quality and professionalism from The Atlantic.
  • jhguhhiuoi
    No substance
    No substance
  • hgbnyc
    I expected so much more from The Atlantic
    I checked the show notes twice to be sure I wasn’t listening to an old episode from Teen magazine. The show hosts would do well to elevate the conversation… many of us have lost the art of fluid intelligent dialogue with new acquaintances. I am not confident this podcast will help in that regard.
  • beherenowtoo
    Heart warming
    Loved the show it reminded be of Robert Green’s philosophy of life. Down to earth and great advice. Thanks for all your work and for sharing your ideas. At 78 I can say I certainly agree with you.
  • nidhiprakash12
    Straight white male perspective
    Not for me !
  • @ccziv
    I enjoyed this podcast, even if I was convinced my death was imminent by the end. One thing that sometimes made me smile and other times made me want to take a hammer to my phone was the frequent, sympathetic “mmmmm” (s) vocalized throughout the show by Rebecca.
  • a1omic23
    Incredibly stupid.
  • RealLemonPlease
    Wealthy white male perspective
    Arthur Brooks is wildly out of touch. The fact that The Atlantic doesn’t realize this tells you a lot.
  • Birdie Halll
    Don’t trust a corporation that makes money off of political chaos and bad news for live advice.
  • Jorge Cap.
    Out of touch with parenting
    I really wanted to like this podcast, but the episode on parenting just left me feeling uninspired and unheard. It was as if the host and guests do not understand that everyone’s parenting experience is different and some struggle with the happiness of even being a parent. “Accepting that your vision of parenting is not reality” trivializes my struggle.
  • Koji p
    The host saying “hmmm” so many times is so annoying I had to turn it off . Sad cause I was actually interested and it’s just distracting and annoying
  • Odudley
    Business speak for parenting
    I’m a little surprised that something so nuanced, human, messy and beautiful as parenting is discussed like I’m in another business meeting. Modify your vision? Data seeking? No doubt these are impressive, smart people, and maybe it’s interesting to apply that filter to parenting, but I find it a little marrow and deflating.
  • oof863682963673
    Very good!
    I absolutely love it! It tells me who to deal with stuff! 5/5 stars!
  • area parent
    Interesting for anyone
    I think I am married to someone single at heart, which is not great for me, but this is a good examination of personal expectations and received opinions.
  • bwickmcnal
    Olga doesn’t recycle
    and speaks about ‘caring for the Earth’ flippantly, as if it’s a niche interest. The episode topics are well selected but the podcast would benefit from a more generous, inquisitive host
  • listener_241
    This show is grossly out of touch. I re-downloaded Apple podcasts just to write this review.
  • PSMinDFW
    Wow, I wanted to like this podcast….
    I really wanted to like this podcast and did enjoy the first season. I’ve made it to the episode “When Partnership Is Not the Destination” and it’s gone off the rails for me. I don’t mean this personally, but the host has “vocal fry” and sounds like a teenager or a satirical skit from a comedy show. In this specific episode, her disdain for single individuals is palpable. In her defense, she did share at the beginning of the episode that she believes she must, no matter what, be in a relationship. Okay. Honestly, I expect higher quality from The Atlantic.
  • pkggrl
    Single episode was disappointing
    I was looking forward to listening to this episode and podcast and had to stop after about ten minutes. The content was limited. the interviewer was on one end of the spectrum and person interviewed on the other. I thought this might be an insightful and relatable episode. It was not.
  • pinkdiva1042
    I find the episodes on partnership and family estrangement to be simplistic at best and offensive at worst. Both of these topics are incredibly nuanced. The previous episodes with Arthur Brooks were insightful and I really found the exercises at the end of each to be useful and compelling.
  • thuglifeforevs
    host proudly doesn’t recycle
    i stopped listening after the host says she gets into fights with her boyfriend because she doesn’t recycle. how privileged.
  • Li11
    Please, I beg you
    Olga should stop saying “like” so much. It takes so much away from what she’s saying. For example, in the friends episode: “As I tried to make friends for my personality article like I felt so awkward and like basically like a five year old on the playground and being like do you wanna be friends with me? And like, like I would literally rather do anything else than ask another adult that question like I’m wondering if that’s a universal feeling or like or what?” I counted at least 100 from this episode from Olga and the first guest. Someone at the Atlantic noticed because most of the “likes” were removed from the episode transcript. It cheapens the show, especially because this is a highly regarded magazine. As a journalist, you would not write an article with that way, so don’t speak that way either. If you cannot be eloquent and sound professional, you should not host a podcast. Great subjects but it’s difficult to listen to someone speak so poorly.
  • nemprohominesnes
    Hollow vanity project for a CV
    Disappointed that this podcast is self-consciously attempting to be esoteric and erudite but is an Atlantic vanity project that, despite tossing out references to scholars & scholarship and employing the language of academia, is shallow. A discussion about the dichotomy of pain to define happiness is something a priest at my elementary school would have counseled. I would have expected much greater depth here. Yet that discussion, for example, ignores that people suffering real, chronic, debilitating, physical pain that does not kill them directly and never ceases. Further, rather than inclusion the podcast intentionally or not excludes the lives, experiences, and realities of the vast majority of the world. A podcast about the issues of heteronormative, economically stable, professionally successful white people on a quest to be 10% happier adds little or nothing.
  • Mig1031
    Bring Arthur Brooks back
    Something about Olga that feels too whiny and all about her and her relationship. I want good convos with good questions. I came across this podcast because I was looking for something positive, enlightening, educational. The first episodes were with Arthur Brooks and he sucked me in. From his voice, to advice, questions and he’s just a great listener. I’m not so sure if I’ll continue to listen. I’m sorry.
  • recycling is cool
    Lost respect
    This show was OK, it was something to listen to while working that I could sometimes connect with, then I listened to an episode in which one of the host stated how she refuses to recycle (for no good reason) and how this upsets her husband and she doesn’t understand why. The blatant disregard for our planet and others feelings, especially her significant other really touched me the wrong way. Will not listen again, and unfollowed.
  • starbrielle
  • PodcastGoose
    Really Enjoying Olga and HTSO
    I LOVE How To Start Over. I find myself looking forward to each episode and I keep sharing them with my friends. I really like Olga as the host. She’s so authentic which makes her vulnerable and real in a way that you don’t often see in podcast hosts. I love the classic soft spoken podcast host too but it gets a bit repetitive and you rarely hear them challenge their guests in an insightful way. The length of the podcast is perfect and overall the production of the podcast is high quality. Can’t wait to hear more!
  • false psychology
    Good podcast
    I appreciate the casters; I found the relationship/ single episode to be a bit but unfair from the guest speaker. She posited that singles are unfairly judged; however, I have found far more judgement cast on people who prefer relationships. It would be nice to have the two sides debated instead of just one favoring single hood. Otherwise I really appreciate the hosts.
  • JDHappy
    Season 2 Episode 1
    So not relatable. How many can go to college become a lawyer the decide to go to school for many other degrees. Seems a show for the 1%’s or those with money and time to waste. Bring Arthur Brooks back!
  • srblakely
    Wish I could get all my friends to listen
    This show is so illuminating and practical. Even if you’re just very remotely interested, try it. It’s filled with intelligence and insight, and it’s beautifully produced. Love the musical interludes.
  • BookBeachBubbly
    Tl;dr Have wealthy parents and marry well and you too can start over
    Incredibly disappointed in this episode of “How to Start Over”. After loving the first seven episodes of this podcast, I was excited to listen to this new episode - I’m seemingly in the target phase of life for this audience and interested in the topic. This was tone deaf and a waste of time to listen to. Big picture - you can change your career multiple times if you have parents that could afford to send you to an Ivy League college (where you major in theater) and then law school, clearly without student loans because you can afford to practice for maybe a few years before quitting entirely to be a stay at home mom. Quitting entirely? Yes, that requires the second element to finding your perfect career - a working spouse who pays the bills while you dabble in writing and then write a book. People live their life all kinds of ways - to each her or his or their own. But have some self awareness that you aren’t an expert on how to start over when the key is having someone else to financially support you the whole time. Like so many other situations - the key to finding your perfect career is being born to or marrying money. And great! Good for those for whom this plan works. But spare me the guidance about how to change careers as if it were based on anything other than having the luxury of being supported by someone else while you are doing so. I’m reminded of all of those memes about how to buy your first house by 25. Step one: stop buying Starbucks. Step two: be given a trust fund with the money to buy the house. I expected better from The Atlantic.
  • deckard-10
    Forget it
    Privileged woman realizes she has enough money to do whatever she wants in middle age is not “starting over”.
  • honolululistenet
    Sound quality!!!
    The content is compelling.....but this is radio, and sound quality is paramount. The is an echo , and a tinny , sharp edge to the sound... it’s wearing and ultimately unlistenable . Professional sound help needed !
  • Gabtoze
  • itoonsrevyoos
    Great guests, awful host
    Bumping up from one star because of the great guests that appear on this series. The host on the other hand… He can not help himself from interjecting after almost every statement the guest makes with something like “well so what you’re *really* saying is <…>” or “wow that totally makes me think of <completely unrelated topic that pushes Arthur’s point of view over the guests>.” This tendency is especially painfully prominent in the episode with the great Lori Gottlieb. Producers: Pleeeease find a better host Arthur: learn to shut it sometimes and employ a beginner’s mindset
  • goop daddy
    Great content, sub-par audio quality
    It would be great if y’all could upgrade your gear so the audio is more crisp. Feels a bit fuzzy listening to it compared to other top podcasts. Hidden Brain for example.
  • RoxStru
    So helpful!!
    More episodes pls!!!!
  • Noble Truths
    More episodes please!
    I get so much from your podcasts. Please produce more!
  • fanngirll
    More please!
    Please produce more episodes. Great content and well done.
  • Spanky spongediver
    I’m not happy that we haven’t heard from you recently 😁
    above 👆
  • Real mandorla
    Looking forward to a season 2
    I’ve been enjoying all the episode and would like to hear a season 2.
  • TSD_16
    Love it! Need it!
    But where are you?!! No new content and I’m very much hoping you’ll come back. And more often! Thank you for a beautiful podcast.
  • _chelsielynne_
    Love this Series
    I’ve just lost my spouse and this podcast has helped me work through everything I’ve been going through. The titles are just everything I feel. Thank you for sharing your time with us!
  • self awarness
    Self awareness
    I recently started listening to podcasts as a form of self care. “How to build a happy life”, is my far one of my top 2 podcasts to listen to when I’m jogging, driving, or relaxing at home. It challenges me to dig deeper and learn more about myself.
  • leapdragon
    Woo for rich people.
    Started by listening to episode five. Wasn't quite feeling it, lots of neo-Buddhist woo-woo nonspecifics, but was willing to ride along until the exercise at the end, where it went very wrong. You're asked to imagine ways you'd like to improve yourself and your life, and then walked through a series of steps in which it's explained to you that all of these are selfish desires—because the presumption is you're doing this out of jealousy, you're doing it out of envy, you're doing it because you'd like to manipulate people, etc. Repeated example given is "earning more money." Dead giveaway—if someone is automatically assuming you'd like to earn more money because you're basically being selfish and it will be so freeing to let that go... Well... That's not the person that would just love to be able to take their kid to the doctor. Or pay their bills in an already frugal life. It was at that point that I had to concede a wasted half hour. Yup, this is more self-help for people who are well off and find themselves aimless and wondering how to find meaning, but not wanting to just do what people have always done to find meaning, which is start a family and find God. It's not "how to build a happy life" for people who are actually struggling and trying to find strategies to meet basic necessities and to find meaning in the long hard, often Sisyphean slog to get that done. Hard pass on any additional episodes.
  • Suzyzazoo
    Great podcast on Happiness and how to look at it
    I enjoyed the last episode I listened to! ”When You Can’t Change the World, Change Your Feelings”. I will continue to follow this podcast more in the future. Great discussions with seasoned psychologist on finding your true self no matter where you are in life! Wish I had this type of guidance when I was in my 20’s and 30’s. Thank you for creating this great podcast!! Suzee Z.
  • skoblowh
    Life changing
    Thank you for this podcast. Thank you.
  • the hot flash
    So so high quality. Excellent use of a few hours of your life.
  • PCast Lover
    Love it
    Absolutely love this podcast. Very interesting and informative. It allows me to look at life in a whole new prospective. Looking forward to more episodes
  • Cole123-
    I feel really inspired and invigorated after I listen. Love the action steps at the end
  • Betsy from Maine
    Could Be Happier
    I’m a huge fan of Arthur’s writing and former podcast, The Art of Happiness. We’re only two episodes into this new podcast, and I love what Arthur offers, but honestly feel that his guests have been somewhat out of sync with him… Hoping it’s either a slow start or perhaps my interpretation of the content- but I’m hoping Arthur offers more of his depth of knowledge.
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