Talking to Strangers: A Discussion with Psychotherapist Charlotte Fox Weber


Can the kindness of strangers help with the loneliness crisis? Whether you are a student, staff, or have gone alt-ac, you’ve likely had to move at least once recently for your education and career goals. It can get lonely when family and friends are far away or they just don’t understand what you are doing with your life, and you are left wondering who you can talk to, who has your back, and who will be your people. In this episode, a podcaster and a psychotherapist sit down to talk about how their respective jobs regularly place them in conversations with strangers, and the unexpectedly good things that have come of that. As Christina Gessler and Charlotte Fox Weber consider reports of a global loneliness crisis, they offer up the idea that perhaps one of the answers to dealing with loneliness is not in cultivating or stressing big relationships, but in recognizing the value of all of the smaller roles played by the people you encounter, and in re-valuing daily interactions.

Along with consideration for caring for mental wellbeing, having boundaries, making a safety-plan or setting up guardrails, and having realistic expectations for the roles people can fill in our lives, this episode reflects on how we can value the cumulative effect of all the smaller conversations that make up a life, and on the surprising kindness and wisdom that might be offered by strangers.

Our guest is: Charlotte Fox Weber, who is a psychotherapist and writer. She cofounded Examined Life and was the founding head of The School of Life Psychotherapy. She grew up in Connecticut and Paris and now lives in London with her family. She is the author of Tell Me What You Want. Find out more at

Our host is: Dr. Christina Gessler, who is the producer and host of the Academic Life podcast. She holds a PhD in history, which she uses to explore what stories we tell and what happens to those we never tell.

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Christina Gessler

Dr. Christina Gessler is the creator, show host, and producer of the Academic Life podcast. She holds a PhD in U.S. history.
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