What motivates people to write in to advice columns? It’s hardly the most efficient way to solve life’s dilemmas. The lead time is too long for any truly pressing, agonizing situations. And by the time the magazine or column comes out, even milder complaints will have been solved or forgotten about or morphed into totally different problems.
To us, agony aunt letter writing always seemed like a faintly exhibitionist way to get a verdict on your personal life, like People’s Court with the faces blurred out. Cheaper than couples therapy, writing into an advice column is private, but only in the sense that it won’t wreck your Google. Ideally, those in your cohort (especially he or she who has wronged you) will read it, recognize you and—thanks to the authority and impartiality of the advice columnist—realize that you were right all along, finally understanding the full magnitude of your suffering. Read More