Social Science

Terrible, Thanks For Asking

American Public Media

+71 FANS

You know how every day someone asks "how are you?" And even if you’re totally dying inside, you just say "fine," so everyone can go about their day? This show is the opposite of that. Hosted by author and notable widow (her words) Nora McInerny, this...Show More

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29: If/Then

36:34 | Mar 6th, 2018

Charlotte's career is built on organized chaos. As an Operating Room nurse, she has a protocol for every tragedy, a THEN for every IF. Until one night, when she takes a new route home, and everything changes.

46: Two Letters

49:52 | Sep 4th, 2018

Annie's husband Jim died by suicide. After his death, she got into a bad space of her own. Then came the letters. You can catch up with TTFA on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook using @ttfapodcast. Check out our sponsors this week: Talkspace - talk...Show More

45: How Are You?

31:51 | Aug 28th, 2018

No, like, really. We ask this question of all of our guests, but we asked you, too. And you answered! You're...all over the place. And that's okay. PS-- please help Nora make #fansofhans happen. You can catch up with TTFA on Instagram, Twitter and F...Show More

44: Ripped From The Headlines

49:05 | Aug 21st, 2018

The murder of Nation's wife was headline news around the country. But the headlines can only tell you so much. You can catch up with TTFA on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook using @ttfapodcast. Check out our sponsors this week: Blue Apron - blueapro...Show More

43: So Many Things At Once

40:30 | Aug 14th, 2018

Third time's the charm, except for when it's the third time your life has been completely upended. Then it's extremely disruptive. Maybe Tinder could help? Check out today's sponsors -- Talkspace -- Brooklinen -- The...Show More

42: YOLO?

45:02 | Aug 7th, 2018

You Only Live Once... unless you're Leilani. This week - a heart, a transplant, and a mystery. Check out our sponsors: Talkspace - with promo code TTFA Committed - Ritual - Third Love - third...Show More

Listen to This: TBTL -- What The Hell Is An Orange Julius?

1:32:15 | Aug 1st, 2018

Nora steps in to guest host the podcast that just might be Too Beautiful To Live -- a delightful daily show about life, current events, pop culture, puttering, laser baldness helmets, and tonight pants. While regular co-host Andrew Walsh is out of to...Show More

Listen to This: Borrowed Interest -- Difficult Women

1:16:08 | Jul 26th, 2018

Borrowed Interest is a podcast hosted by three ad-women of color -- Leeya Jackson, Shareina Chandler, and Amalia Nicholson - kicking it in the advertising business and working it all out with thoughtful discussions, screams and laughter. They're your...Show More

Listen to This: Forever35 -- Just Say No with Nora McInerny

1:04:12 | Jul 18th, 2018

This week Nora wants you to listen to an amazing podcast called Forever35. Kate Spencer and Doree Shafrir talk about self-care and how to get some in their (and your) lives. On this episode, they also talk to an up-and-comer named Nora McInerny. Nora...Show More

Listen to This: Reply All -- An Ad for the Worst Day of Your Life

33:55 | Jul 10th, 2018

Matt's wife died a decade ago. Now, everywhere he goes on the internet, he can't escape advertisements for clickbait sites with her picture on it. This week, Super Tech Support tries to help out. Further reading: Matt's non-profit: The Liz Logelin ...Show More

41: The Stories We Tell

42:22 | Jun 26th, 2018

Stories from our parents and grandparents are a sort of intergenerational game of telephone - even the ones we think we know for sure change as they are told and retold. Check out our sponsors: Talkspace -- with promo code TTFA Bl...Show More

40: Expect Good Things

44:34 | Jun 19th, 2018

Life as a 20-something guy with stage IV lung cancer, including some very important life advice regarding travel. Check out our sponsors: Talkspace - with promo code TTFA FabFitFun - with promo code TERRIBLE Children's C...Show More

39: Natalie

43:06 | Jun 12th, 2018

The punishment is supposed to fit the crime. But sometimes, when the sentence is served, the punishment is far from over. Check out our sponsors this week: Children's Cancer Fund -- Ritual - Molekule -- mo...Show More

38: About Bob

51:30 | Jun 5th, 2018

This is a story about a dad who is sometimes a stranger, often a mystery, and always loved anyways. Check out our sponsors this week: Talkspace -- with promo code TTFA Brooklinen -- with promo code THANKS RXBar -...Show More

37: Fairy Dust

40:17 | May 29th, 2018

Lesly is a mother of three and a three-time cancer haver (there may be a more medical term for that) living on borrowed time. When the treatment you need is out of your reach, what the heck do you do? Check out our sponsors this week: More

33: Witness

43:40 | May 1st, 2018

What's worse: keeping the people you love at a distance, or showing them your true colors and losing them forever? Patricia doesn't want to find out.

32: Bryson's Purpose

44:43 | Mar 27th, 2018

Chelsey and Kevin are parents, public servants, and two people just trying to make sense of the absolutely senseless. If this is God's plan, I have a word or two for God.

31: Transformation

44:11 | Mar 20th, 2018

It's not just a hashtag. Transformation is inevitable (and not always a choice.) But nothing transforms us more than love.

30: Route 91

46:50 | Mar 13th, 2018

On the eve of Kelli's 25th birthday, she found herself running for her life in a dystopian nightmare. It was supposed to be an incredible weekend to celebrate the dawn of a new phase of her life. Instead, it was the deadliest mass shooting (so far) i...Show More

3: Happy(ish) Holidays

53:07 | Dec 12th, 2016

Two days after Nora's husband Aaron died, she celebrated Thanksgiving with her family. Well...maybe not "celebrated." Actually, why would you do that? Try to be normal when clearly everything isn't? But every year millions of people do the same thin...Show More

1: In Love and Memory

38:07 | Nov 28th, 2016

Toddlers Ralphie and Bronson have lived most of their young lives with dead fathers. Their mothers - Nora and Moe Richardson - struggle to understand how to help their boys remember the dads they won't know directly. And as they worry about what long...Show More

0: Sad Nora and the Secret Baby

20:15 | Nov 20th, 2016

Nora McInerny is in love with two men. With one man, who died two years ago this week, she has a child. And last week she had a child with the other. She didn't tell many people about the new baby. Or her pregnancy. Because feelings. Falling in l...Show More

Listen To This: TED Talks Daily

18:01 | Apr 16th

While we are away for a few weeks we want to make sure you are listening to what we're listening to. And what we're doing. So today, an episode of the podcast TED Talks Daily, where hear a new TED talk every day. And this one... is Nora's. TED Talk....Show More

68: A Way of Seeing The World

56:12 | Apr 2nd

"Stronger Than Hate" is what everyone said in response to the mass shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue. But what does that mean? In this third and final episode in our series from Pittsburgh, we talk to all types of people about who and what is St...Show More

67: Their Day

54:41 | Mar 26th

Days can be significant for many reasons. For many people. At the same time. In our second of three episodes from Pittsburgh, PA, two stories of parallel lives on a big day. You can catch up with TTFA on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook using @ttfa...Show More

66: Concentric Circles

49:50 | Mar 19th

In the first of three episodes from Pittsburgh, PA, we talk with three women about how the ripple effects from a shared public tragedy have affected their lives. You can catch up with TTFA on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook using @ttfapodcast. Nora...Show More

65: Sad and Lucky

44:33 | Mar 12th

Sad! And Lucky! Those are things you can be! Includes an essay from Nora's book, No Happy Endings, available where books are sold except like, Walgreeens. But always at You can catch up with TTFA on Instagram, Twitter and Fac...Show More

64: WWJD?

48:53 | Mar 5th

Jenny and Michelle are twins. Twin telepathy, switching places, the whole deal. Pat and Teddy are big parts of Jenny and Michelle's lives, but no one has been HERE before. You can catch up with TTFA on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook using @ttfapo...Show More

63: The Intended Outcome

44:33 | Feb 26th

Deya and Sandra are two moms who are stuck at the intersection of maternal love and uncertainty. You can catch up with TTFA on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook using @ttfapodcast. Nora's Instagram is @noraborealis. You can pre-order Nora's new book...Show More

62: The Bride Price

59:00 | Feb 19th

Every wedding has a at least a little bit of drama. For Mai Neng Moua and her mother, Yer Vu, their mother/daughter wedding drama was about who they were, and who they wanted to be. You can catch up with TTFA on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook usin...Show More

61: A Bailey Moment

42:45 | Feb 12th

Parenting is *never* what you expect it to be. Maiya knows that as well as anyone. You can catch up with TTFA on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook using @ttfapodcast. Nora's Instagram is @noraborealis. You can pre-order Nora's new book - No Happy En...Show More

60: The Treatment

50:35 | Feb 5th

Rachel Haines makes everything look easy. Even when things are very very very not easy. A gymnast, a competitor, and a champion, Rachel endures and survives... with a smile. Rachel's book is out April 12. You can pre-order it here: https://www.amazo...Show More

59: Where Are They Now?

56:22 | Jan 29th

Our episodes end. Obviously. But the lives whose stories we tell... they keep going. So today we are going to get back in touch with some old friends and see what has happened and what they've been up to since we first got to know them. WARNING - s...Show More

Listen to This: The Slowdown

17:07 | Jan 23rd

Need a slight daily readjustment of your point of view? A moment to focus and meditate on something besides your to-do list? We want to introduce you to The Slowdown. It's a podcast we love where every weekday, U.S. Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith del...Show More

58: Happy(ish) Holidays III

51:00 | Nov 27th, 2018

In our final episode of the season we are talking about... The Holidays. Which are a time of reflection and anticipation. Of looking back at what we did... and what was done to us. We will hear from comedian and writer Alyssa Limperis and the shine-i...Show More

57: Don't Should Yourself

40:34 | Nov 20th, 2018

Two things that grief brings you: Kleenex and hotdish. Two other things? Anger and people telling you what you should do. This week, stories about grief, anger and Hans' Gramma, written and read by Nora. You can preorder Nora's new book - No Happ...Show More

56: Birthright

47:16 | Nov 13th, 2018

Sheridan's dad died by suicide when she was 6 years old. And for years she feared that was his legacy. And her birthright. You can catch up with TTFA on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook using @ttfapodcast. Nora's Instagram is @noraborealis. Check ou...Show More

55: T-T-T-Today, Junior!

42:52 | Nov 6th, 2018

Did I stutter? Erin did. Erin does. And here's what it's like to live with a speech impediment that people still make jokes about. You can catch up with TTFA on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook using @ttfapodcast. Nora's Instagram is @noraborealis. ...Show More

54: The Skydiving Belle And The Butterfly

45:11 | Oct 30th, 2018

I've heard there are like, seven circles of hell? Ashley's been to at least six of them. You can catch up with TTFA on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook using @ttfapodcast. Nora's Instagram is @noraborealis. Check out our sponsors this week: Talks...Show More

53: The Beautiful Ones

39:16 | Oct 23rd, 2018

If we're lucky, we can learn to love ourselves. But if we love the way we look? Well, people tend to look down on that. But not Gigi. Gigi loves herself. And how she looks. And you know what? YOU SHOULD, TOO. You can catch up with TTFA on Instagram,...Show More

52: Heather

46:53 | Oct 17th, 2018

It's winter in Kansas, and Heather is back in her hometown, facing her abuser for the first time. You can catch up with TTFA on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook using @ttfapodcast. Nora's Instagram is @noraborealis. Check out our sponsors this wee...Show More

Update on Episode 51: Nebach

05:12 | Oct 17th, 2018

A quick update and clarification on Episode 51.

51: Nebach

50:15 | Oct 9th, 2018

Dating is tough. Especially when there's strict expectations and rules. And ESPECIALLY when you finally find someone... and they don't turn out to be who you expected. You can catch up with TTFA on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook using @ttfapodcast...Show More

50: Soooo OCD

57:21 | Oct 2nd, 2018

OCD is one of those acronyms we use to say, "I'm a little quirky" or "I like my room to be VERY clean." But what does it mean to actually live with OCD? I have no idea, so we asked people who do. You can catch up with TTFA on Instagram, Twitter and ...Show More

49: What Do You Say About Suicide? (Part 2)

40:01 | Sep 25th, 2018

We're *still* not done talking about suicide. And neither are you... If you're looking for resources on suicide, here are some good places to start: Be The One To - National Alliance on Mental Illness - More

48: What Do You Say About Suicide? (Part 1)

45:51 | Sep 18th, 2018

You know what people hate talking about? Dreams. Politics. Religion. Your birth story. Also: suicide. Which is why we asked you to talk about it for us. For resources on suicide and mental health, has a wealth of great mental health resour...Show More

47: Nathan

53:44 | Sep 11th, 2018

Nathan grew up knowing he was different. And what scared him more than who he is, was the idea that who he is was at odds with God, and his family, and the world he belonged to. provides crises intervention for LGBTQ+ youth. Tex...Show More

28: Revenge of the Porn

44:14 | Feb 27th, 2018

The INTERNET never forgets (dang it).

27: The Use of These Memories

35:48 | Feb 20th, 2018

There's a thin line between life and death. Between what's here -- now -- and what was. Between what's here -- now -- and what will be. Taz Ahmed knows about that line. In a dark house in Kathmandu, she and her aging grandfather toe up to it to look ...Show More

26: Perfectly

44:50 | Feb 13th, 2018

Sometimes, it all just falls into place. For Megan and Clark, a one-week span showed how things can work out perfectly to create the best days of your life... and the worst.

25: The Broken Places

45:55 | Feb 6th, 2018

When the world breaks everything, when everything is The Absolute Worst, you're lucky if you have people to lean on. You're even luckier if they're your siblings. Meet Alex, David and Liza Achilli. Which... I really wanted to call this episode The Ac...Show More

24: Incompatible With Life

35:43 | Dec 12th, 2017

At 32 weeks pregnant, Cat and Jim find themselves planning for their son's death while hoping for his birth. This is a story of a life and a death, extraordinary in every way.

23: Live with Dessa, Alyssa Limperis and Geoffrey Wilson

52:16 | Dec 5th, 2017

TTFA is live from the historic Fitzgerald Theater in downtown St. Paul, MN! Featuring conversation with writer/rapper/entrepreneur Dessa, who took to science to overcome a bad love. And with comedian Alyssa Limperis, whose father died of glioblastoma...Show More

22: Happy(ish) Holidays II

52:31 | Nov 28th, 2017

Lauren's brother died at Thanksgiving. And her mother at Christmas. So... this time of year it's not all Ho Ho Ho for her. Or for a lot of other people. Because the Holidays can really and truly suck for some. So we're back with our second annual Hol...Show More

21: Introducing Childhood

28:58 | Nov 21st, 2017

Malena is 10 years old, and she worries a lot. About her grades. About her procrastination. About her dad. Especially about her dad. Kids are the best. They're smart and funny and deeply empathetic. And they - and their thoughts and feelings - deserv...Show More

20: The Truth We Live

36:48 | Nov 14th, 2017

Amee doesn't have a dad. But she used to. He was the best. He was the worst. And he claims that he doesn't remember any of it.

19: What Does All This Loss Mean?

48:30 | Nov 7th, 2017

Dead sister. Dead grandma. Dead grandpa. Dead uncle. Dead mom. Dead dad. Dead brother. The list of loss goes on and on for Jaamil, and so does his list of professional accolades and accomplishments as he moves from trauma to post-traumatic enlightenm...Show More

18: Chapter 2

35:03 | Oct 31st, 2017

Hope and Aaron died on the exact same day. Each leaving behind their spouse, their child, and all the love their small families had created. Nearly three years later, their spouses have remarried. But don't you dare say they've moved on.

7: Unbroken (#metoo)

47:57 | Oct 24th, 2017

Sexual violence thrives in silence, and it's hard to talk about... so we don't. But rape survivor Sarah Super refuses to be quiet, and has dedicated her life to helping other survivors Break the Silence. If you or someone you know has experienced sex...Show More

17: Esther Perel Live at Now Hear This Festival

50:58 | Oct 17th, 2017

If you are or ever plan to be in a relationship, you need to know Esther Perel, The Patron Saint of Relationships. Known for her TED Talks, her brilliant book, Mating in Captivity, and her captivating podcast, Where Should We Begin?, Esther believes ...Show More

16: Forever Alone? (Part 2)

39:36 | Oct 10th, 2017

In our last episode, we met chronically single Chelsea, who was looking for love in all the same places we all look for love... and coming up empty-handed. Now, we meet Chelsea's new boyfriend (!!!!) and explore what happens when the love we find isn...Show More

15: Forever Alone? (Part 1)

35:59 | Oct 3rd, 2017

As the saying goes, "There's a lid for every pot." There's someone for everyone. Chelsea has been looking for her lid -- her someone -- since high school. Nearly 15 years after her only real relationship ended, she still hasn't found her person. It's...Show More

14: Best Friends Forever

33:12 | Sep 25th, 2017

There are friendships, and there are FRIENDSHIPS of the all-caps variety. The latter ones are harder to forge the older you get. Which is what Janya is struggling with after the loss of her best friend, Michele.

13: Baby Huey

35:38 | Sep 20th, 2017

Courtney and Jay are parents to 9-year-old Bruce, who they affectionately call Baby Huey. Bruce has never had a friend. Never had a playdate. Never been invited to a birthday party. What. The. Heck.


06:35 | Sep 18th, 2017

Nora is back from her honeymoon with a special announcement: TTFA is doing a live show! (Plus, this week's episode will be out on Wednesday - so stay tuned!) TTFA LIVE! In person!! Hear us perform an episode right in front of your face! November 17, ...Show More

12: Horrible and Wonderful and Figuring it Out

45:47 | Sep 11th, 2017

Harris Wittels was the executive producer of Parks and Recreation, the coiner of the word "humblebrag," a Phish enthusiast, and the funniest person in any room he walked into. He died of a heroin overdose in 2015, leaving behind his mother, his siste...Show More

11: The Ending Matters

43:38 | Sep 6th, 2017

How do you want to die? We're willing to bet the answer isn't, "Very painfully, please!" Brittany Maynard was 29 when she died of brain cancer. Aaron Purmort was 35 when he died of the same thing. But their paths to death were very different. Nearly ...Show More

Mini-Season Ep 9: Love Hurts

41:04 | Jul 19th, 2017

When Lea Thau's fiance left her, she felt all the feelings. Then she had their baby, and decided to start dating again. But, despite going out, nothing seemed to be clicking. Over and over. And eventually, she wanted to know why. Why didn't men want ...Show More

Mini-Season Ep 8: Dear Grown-ups

37:07 | Jun 13th, 2017

What do you wish your grown-ups had said to you when you were a kid? Especially while dealing with really hard stuff? We wanted to know, so we asked the Terrible Club - listeners who support the show - and they had some thoughts. Geez da wheeze, did ...Show More

Mini-Season Ep 7: Naomi + Khaleel

27:04 | Jun 7th, 2017

Khaleel Thompson is an 18-year-old who loves music, reading, and his cat, Domino. Naomi is his mother, asking why four police officers fired more than 12 rounds at her son in a public park two weeks ago, leaving him in critical condition. The two of ...Show More

Mini-Season Ep 6: 19 Hours Ago

40:54 | Apr 25th, 2017

Grief is always fresh for someone, somewhere. Right now, someone is losing a friend. A partner. A parent. And they are entering a new role, a new relationship to their loved one, and to the world. Holly felt that grief. And she came in to share it wi...Show More

Mini-Season Ep 5: To Michael

19:24 | Apr 17th, 2017

When someone dies, you're supposed to say something. Someone is supposed to say something. Someone is supposed to summarize this person, prove that they existed, that they mattered. But what do you say when a complicated person dies after a complicat...Show More

Mini-Season Ep 4: Is It OK?

21:21 | Apr 10th, 2017

Alysha-Aubrey sent us a story about both her parents falling seriously ill at the same time, and the toll it took on her as a teenager. And she ended her story with a question about whether or not it's OK that she doesn't feel OK. Even though her fam...Show More

Mini-Season Ep 3: #trypod with The Hilarious World of Depression

45:49 | Mar 27th, 2017

March is #trypod month, where everyone should force their loved ones to listen to podcasts. Not sure which one to subscribe every family member to? Well, we have one for you. It's called The Hilarious World of Depression, and it features open, honest...Show More

Mini-Season Ep 2: Are You Up?

44:21 | Mar 14th, 2017

It's 12:00. No, 1:00. No, 4:45 in the morning. You should be sleeping -- we all should be -- but you're not. You're laying there as the minutes tick away, thinking about... what, exactly? One sleepless night, Nora took to Twitter to see what was keep...Show More

Mini-Season Ep 1: Not The Bummer Olympics

15:01 | Mar 6th, 2017

So many people start off their stories by saying that it doesn't compare to what happened to someone else. But this isn't a game of Who Has It Worse, so why do we act like there is some sort of imaginary yardstick for struggling? This is the first e...Show More

10: Semper Fi

36:42 | Jan 30th, 2017

When Nora McInerny's dad died, she lost his stories. The ones that she's not sure she can can't quite remember right, and the ones she never knew. Like those from his time as a Recon Marine in Vietnam. So Nora decides to look up some of the men he se...Show More

9: Under a Cloud of Loss

47:23 | Jan 23rd, 2017

Damon's grandparents were murdered 18 months before he was born. And, for the first time in his life, he prepares to see his grandparents' murderer face to face.

8: The Middle Place

34:10 | Jan 16th, 2017

For most of us, death is scary. And what happens next is just as mysterious. But what if we could see death as something beautiful? Or holy? Sarah Gottfried and Heather Olson share their experiences of being with people who are transitioning from thi...Show More

7: Unbroken

45:19 | Jan 9th, 2017

Sexual violence thrives in silence, and it's hard to talk we don't. But rape survivor Sarah Super refuses to be quiet, and has dedicated her life to helping other survivors Break the Silence.

6: A Henry Sky

40:56 | Jan 2nd, 2017

Colleen Barton is a pediatrician, a wife, and a mother to a beautiful son named Henry. Since Henry's stillbirth, Colleen and her husband have been working to build their family while dealing with miscarriage and secondary infertility.

5: Help Me Remember

41:20 | Dec 26th, 2016

Dawn Pereda is a nurse who was injured by a patient while working. And this injury resulted in a brain injury that has changed her life completely. Dawn and her family open up about what it can be like living with Traumatic Brain Injury, grieving for...Show More

4: Me, Too

39:57 | Dec 19th, 2016

Danni Starr had everything she wanted: an enviable career, a husband, and, finally...her first baby. But off the air, motherhood was not what she expected it to be. She had taken all the classes, read all the books, bought all the stuff...but nothing...Show More

2: I've Made a Huge Mistake

47:12 | Dec 5th, 2016

The year is 2007. Eva Hagberg is a 20-something writer snagging bylines in the New York Times by day, and partying herself stupid by night. It is all going great, until she gets her big break, and her big breakdown...

Coming This Fall – Terrible, Thanks For Asking

03:31 | Jun 17th, 2016

Lots of things happen in a life. Some of them are hard. Terrible Thanks For Asking is a funny/sad/uncomfortable podcast about getting through things when life just keeps kicking you in the privates over and over. It launches this fall, but here’s a s...Show More