Meet R. Eric Thomas of “Asking Eric”

July 5th, 2024

A new advice columnist shares his insights

R. Eric Thomas of Asking Eric posing in a beautiful outdoor setting

As advice columnist Amy Dickinson has moved to a new stage in life, retiring the Ask Amy columns that ran in Boomer and other outlets, a new young columnist has stepped in to fill the void. R. Eric Thomas presents “Asking Eric.” Here’s a brief introduction to our new friendly advisor.

Dear Asking Eric: You’ll be giving out advice in this new syndicated column. What’s your story?

I’m sometimes asked what advice I would give my younger self; say, myself at 14.

I usually answer by joking that I’d definitely advise my younger self not to lie to my friends about seeing the movie “Se7en” in 1995.

But I did lie.

Then one of my friend’s parents mentioned it to my parents. That’s when my parents, not wanting to be seen as the kind of people who would let their child see a gory R-rated film, ordered me to come clean.

In the carpool line at school.

I remember sliding open the door of our minivan and shouting to my friends, “I didn’t see ‘Se7en’! I don’t know what happens! I got confused!”

Oh, the horror.

Any more advice for young Eric?

Plenty. That “Se7en” thing is just the tip of the iceberg.

I’m now a writer in his 40s living on the East Coast and ’m married to a Presbyterian pastor and therapist. I’ve written a dozen plays, many hours of television, and four books, including a YA novel and two best-selling comedic memoirs, “Congratulations, the Best Is Over!” and “Here For It.”

I’ve lived a life. I’m still living it.

In all my work, empathy is the foundational element. Why? Because the stories of our lives are empathy engines. When I talk about what happened to me in my life – what I want, what I’ve lost – pathways open to the listener or reader, pathways that invite them to think about their own lives differently.

Even though I’m separated from the advice-seekers, I see this space as a conversation. When you write in and share your story, you’re not asking for a decree from on high, you’re asking to be heard, understood, to feel that you’re not alone. And when you read the stories of others, you’re asking to be included in something mysterious, confounding, funny and very human.

Like a group of people at a dinner party, we’re all leaning in, forming our own opinions and figuring out what to do.

Here’s what’s happening on my side of the dinner party table: I consider marriage and family units as an ever-developing and changing ecosystem. I think a lot about work culture and the large and petty squabbles that bubble up. I have strong feelings about people caring for their pets. I love a wedding or party where food is abundant. I’ll absolutely give you my honest take on the kitchen backsplash you picked out, and I’m of the opinion that wallpaper is back in vogue. I wish everyone felt empowered to give voice to the big emotion, and to listen with intention and, when possible, love.

Send your Asking Eric questions to R. Eric Thomas at or P.O. Box 22474, Philadelphia, PA 19110. Follow him on Instagram and sign up for his weekly newsletter at

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