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Dear Sugars

Radically empathic advice. Produced by WBUR.

Weekly hand curated podcast episodes for learning

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The best episodes ranked using user listens.

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Episodes We Love: Trust Your Body

“It’s only when my pants are nearly impossible to button that I force myself to lose weight,” writes the letter-writer who calls herself Body Negative. “And then the pattern starts all over again.” Hilary Kinavey, M.S., L.P.C., and Dana Sturtevant, M.S., R.D., the co-owners of Be Nourished, join the Sugars on today’s episode to offer Body Negative and women like her some hope. This episode was originally released on June 11th, 2018.

42mins

27 Nov 2019

Rank #1

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Episodes We Love: Friendship, Part 1

Everyone has had a friendship quandary of some sort in the past, right? This week, the Sugars take on frequently asked questions in "rapid fire" fashion – from hating your best friend's significant other, to hating her politics. This episode was originally released October 28th, 2016.

41mins

3 Nov 2018

Rank #2

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Episodes We Love: I'm In Love With My Abuser

The Sugars answer a voicemail message from the Dear Sugars hotline. The message comes from a woman who reunited with her ex-boyfriend, who once assaulted her. Wracked with shame, she wonders if reconciling with him is acceptable and if it’s possible he’ll change. Esta Soler, president and founder of Futures Without Violence, joins the Sugars to help answer the question: Is it O.K. to love someone who abused you? This episode was originally released on April 21st, 2018.

26mins

25 Oct 2019

Rank #3

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Redux: When Your Loved Ones Just Don't 'Get It'

Our loved ones are the people who are supposed to understand us. But what if they just...can't? Where do we turn then, and how do we fight the feelings of resentment that this lack of understanding can stir up? This episode was originally released November 11th, 2016.

32mins

9 Nov 2020

Rank #4

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Episodes We Love: Can A Sexual Assault Survivor Love A Rapist?

The Sugars discuss a letter from a survivor of sexual assault who has just been told by her long-time partner that he raped someone when he was in high school. The writer wonders how she, as a survivor and self-proclaimed feminist, can justify loving a rapist.

29mins

15 Sep 2018

Rank #5

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Emotional Labor: The Invisible Work (Most) Women Do

Remembering the grocery list, coordinating with the babysitter, making food for the potluck, scheduling a get-together with the in-laws: These are some of the invisible tasks that (most) women exclusively do in their romantic relationships — and the list goes on and on. Women from across the country wrote in to the Dear Sugars inbox echoing identical inequalities in their relationships with their husbands and boyfriends. The Sugars commiserate with this aggrieved chorus, along with Gemma Hartley, the writer who set off a national conversation about emotional labor with her …

44mins

5 May 2018

Rank #6

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Redux: Buyer's Remorse

Buzz Bissinger owns more than 100 pairs of leather pants and over 200 pairs of leather gloves, having spent more than $600,000 on leather goods in the span of three years. Mr. Bissinger has a spending addiction, and he joins the Sugars to offer guidance to a letter-writer whose therapist and family don’t take her spending seriously. This episode was originally published on April 14th, 2018.

24mins

18 Dec 2020

Rank #7

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The Ugly Truth

Most of us have days when we don’t feel attractive. But in this episode, the Sugars read letters from people whose faces are at odds with conventional ideas of beauty. The writer Ariel Henley joins the Sugars to talk about her own facial differences. Henley was born with Crouzon Syndrome. As a child, she underwent dozens of surgeries that permanently changed the shape of her face.

34mins

16 Dec 2017

Rank #8

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Emotional Abuse — With Reema Zaman

He removed her makeup when he thought she was wearing too much. He refused to put her name on the leases for their car and their house. He told her that she had a green card only because he chose to marry her. Reema Zaman, our guest in this week’s episode, was in an emotionally abusive marriage. She helps the Sugars answer two painful letters from women who are struggling to disentangle themselves from their abusive partners.

47mins

4 Aug 2018

Rank #9

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Episodes We Love: Make The Call

The Sugars bring you another "rapid fire" episode, where they give brief answers to a handful of letters. This time, they challenge each other to make the call — one way or the other — on the questions they're discussing, rather than offer open-ended guidance. This episode was originally released September 30th, 2016,

39mins

13 Oct 2018

Rank #10

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Redux: Male-Female Friendships

The Sugars' conversation on friendship continues with a handful of letters concerning male-female friendships. Is there such a thing as a platonic relationship between a heterosexual man and woman? Can male-female friendships be as emotionally satisfying as same-gender relationships? What do you do when a friend crosses a romantic line? The Sugars discuss it all in rapid-fire fashion. This episode was originally published on November 4th, 2016.

32mins

9 Oct 2020

Rank #11

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Rapid Fire: Lovers & Friends

In this rapid-fire episode, the Sugars weigh in on jealousy -- when is it justified, and how can it be confronted or neutralized?

42mins

31 Mar 2018

Rank #12

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Dear Sugars Presents: Food, We Need To Talk

one woman's quest to end her war with food. Hosts Juna Gjata and Dr. Eddie Phillips wield solid science, medical knowledge, common sense and an endless supply of dad jokes to teach us how to eat better and feel better about it. Hint: it's not dieting. A new podcast from WBUR. To subscribe: http://hyperurl.co/mj567n

22mins

3 Jan 2020

Rank #13

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Episodes We Love: A Night Of Bad Stories

Dear Sugars returns to Portland, Oregon, for another raucous and uplifting live show. The Sugars get a surprising update from a letter writer from their past; discuss a new letter with a special guest, Omar El Akkad; and ask the audience, “What’s the ‘bad story’ you tell yourself?” “Bad Stories,” the title of Steve Almond’s new book, are the false narratives we tell ourselves that undermine our happiness. “You’ve got to revise those narratives,” encourages Cheryl Strayed. “You have the capacity for change and transformation.” This episode was originally published on April 12th, 2018.

41mins

14 Feb 2020

Rank #14

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Trust Your Body — With Hilary Kinavey & Dana Sturtevant

“It’s only when my pants are nearly impossible to button that I force myself to lose weight,” writes the letter-writer who calls herself Body Negative. “And then the pattern starts all over again.” Hilary Kinavey, M.S., L.P.C., and Dana Sturtevant, M.S., R.D., the co-owners of Be Nourished, join the Sugars on today’s episode to offer Body Negative and women like her some hope.

41mins

9 Jun 2018

Rank #15

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Dear Sugars Presents: Family Ghosts

Dear Sugars wants to tell you about another great podcast: Family Ghosts, a show where people tell stories about experiences that transform their understanding of familial legacy. On this recent episode, a storyteller named David Crabb took a unique approach to that concept, telling the story of three dogs in his life and how they've shaped his perception of what it means to start a family and be a part of one.

49mins

13 Mar 2020

Rank #16

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Dark Fantasies, Part 1 — With Dr. Ian Kerner

Orgies. Sex in public. Incest. These are the things that some of us think about in the dark. Taboo fantasies can be exciting, but they can also be the source of our deepest shame. In this two-part series on sexual fantasies, the Sugars read letters from people who want to turn off the thoughts that turn them on.

32mins

13 Jan 2018

Rank #17

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Episodes We Love: Talking About Privilege

Privilege comes in many forms: socio-economic privilege, gender privilege, heterosexual privilege, to name a few. In this episode, the Sugars reply to two letter writers who are facing different forms of privilege. They discuss with Catrice M. Jackson, a leading voice for racial justice. This episode was originally published on August 11th, 2018.

28mins

10 Jan 2020

Rank #18

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Introducing Safe for Work

Safe For Work is an advice show that reminds you that while your office may be crazy, you don’t have to be. Office MVPs and corporate veterans Liz Dolan (ex-CMO, Nike, NatGeo, Oprah Winfrey Network) and Rico Gagliano (audio host, producer, print reporter and author) will help you make the big decisions, sort through the small stuff, and get more fulfillment from your work life.

3mins

19 Dec 2018

Rank #19

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Redux: Step Into Your Spotlight

The Sugars find out what happened to two letter writers who let self-image sabotage their love lives. They find out if “Scared to Choose Wrong” married her fiancé, and they give “Aspiring Warrior for Love” a call to see how he’s changed since hearing the Sugars’ advice more than a year ago. This episode was originally published on February 3rd, 2018.

36mins

11 Sep 2020

Rank #20