Happy Blogiversary, Richard! July 3, 2010

Happy Blogiversary, Richard!

It was a year ago that Richard Wade began answering your questions, putting to use his skills as both a retired marriage and family counselor and a compassionate writer. You want to talk about Friendly Atheism? There’s your man.

His column has become one of the most popular (and appreciated) features on this site — whenever I gave a talk at a college this past year, someone would inevitably come up to me to say how much they loved reading Richard’s advice. It’s an honor to have him writing here, and it’s my pleasure to call him a friend.

Daniel at Camels with Hammers has a rundown of all of the postings from the past year. If you have questions for Richard, information on how to reach him can be found at the bottom of all of his columns.

He’s a humble guy, but I’m sure he would appreciate your kind words in the comments!

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  • anna

    I really enjoy reading the Ask Richard posts. I definitely can relate to some of the people who write in and seeing Richard’s advice.

    Thanks for all the great advice!

  • Haley

    I love reading Richard’s posts. I’ve always admired how much insight he can gain from even a paragraph, and I think a lot of the advice found in each post can be applied not just for people in that situation, but universally. I’ve learned a lot about the social problems other atheists, agnostics, and even religious people go through in our society from that column. Thanks, Richard!

  • Mariam Zeidan

    You are such a pride and inspiration to us all!

  • Ron in Houston

    Richard does add a lot to your site and he’s always so nice and diplomatic in his answers.

    However, I don’t think he’s calendar model material like Hemant.

  • Jenea

    I truly appreciate Richard’s compassion and wisdom, and always get a lot from each of his posts. I was, of course, especially thankful and moved at his response to me and my daughter who is a young freethinker on the cusp of middle school.

    I often think about Richard’s delineation of the kinds of respect: treating someone with a respect, respecting the person, and respecting their beliefs or ideas. This has brought me a lot of comfort and peace of mind, especially in dealing with some fundamentalist relatives.

    Thank you, Richard!

  • JulietEcho

    I love reading Richard’s columns, and I always appreciate how he interacts with those of us who chime in with comments. He’s definitely a voice of reason in tough situations where it’s human to let emotions get the better of us. I think that those who send Richard letters are using one of (if not the best) resources on the internet for advice about atheism-related issues.

    Keep going, Richard – we love you!

    I also thought I’d add (and maybe others will continue?) some follow-up, as I’m one of the many people who’s had letters answered by Richard. I wrote the letter from “Poly” when I was frustrated by my family’s religious-rooted hatred of GLBT and poly relationships. I did prod my family members a bit, looking for a possible ally as Richard suggested. Finding none, I didn’t resort to an ultimatum, thanks to his good advice. Instead, I started going to a poly-friendly therapist and am working on making peace with the fact that my parents are unlikely to change, and seeking ways to keep them in my life while maintaining my integrity. It’s not the easiest answer, but it’s the one I want, and I’m glad Richard helped talk me out of throwing down the gauntlet and possibly giving up on that relationship.

    Thanks, Richard.

  • Nakor

    It’s not just the Ask Richard columns either, he often adds a lot to the conversations in the comments section of Hemant’s entries.

    You’re awesome, Richard!

  • stephanie

    Thanks for all the good words this year, Richard, and I hope for many more!!!

  • e-patient

    You were there when I needed advice about secular counseling after a mastectomy. I am doing well and wish you a very happy anniversary!!! I hope you will be blogging for a long time to come.

  • I’m nearing the end of the process of “outing” myself as an atheist, and I wish I’d had Richard’s advice column earlier. Still, I enjoy reading the advice that’s relevant with my situation, past and present. Thank you, Hemant, for hosting him on your blog.

  • Miki

    Richard, thanks for your good work. I’m a fan.

  • Claudia

    Richard’s column is one of the best features of the blog. It connects the theory of atheism to the reality of people’s lives and often forces us to see the continuing cultural divide through a more compassionate, more pragmatic and more personal lense.

  • Congratulations on your anniversary here Richard! You add so much to the blog. I always look forward to what you have to say. Here’s to many more years!

  • prospera


    I can only imagine the amount of preparation and thought process that goes into your posts, not to mention the number of letters you must have to sift through. Yet you have managed to provide us with your wonderful twice-a-week advice consistently for a full year! Amazing!

    I personally learn so much from reading your posts about relationships far beyond the subject of religion.

    Thank you so much for your dedication, Richard! I hope you never burn out! 😉

  • Richard,

    I always look forward to the “ask Richard” postings and always appreciate your well thought out responses. Keep up the good work!

  • Nicky

    Looking through the list of replies you’ve written, Richard, blows my mind. Given the number of replies I’ve read, I seriously thought it had been much longer than a year. Your dedication amazes me. Congratulations on the anniversary.

  • Dan W

    I always love reading the “ask Richard” postings. Congrats Richard.

  • Alice

    Thank you for providing so many people with such great advice. Your writing has helped me personally so much. Your advise in response to my e-mail has helped me get through my last year of high school and salvage a decent relationship with my parents. I owe you a lot. Congrats on making people’s lives better for a whole year. I hope there are more to come.

  • Richard Wade

    Thank you, Hemant, and everyone! I’m very touched and encouraged by your compliments. And thank you Daniel, for that list. I was slowly compiling them, but now it’s all done.

    It has been a pleasure and a very needed outlet for me to do this column. I had to retire early as a counselor because it was taking too much of a toll on me, but I’ve missed being able to help people. This has really restored my sense of purpose.

    The only drawback to this is that I usually can’t answer the letters very promptly, and the older unanswered ones are a constant source of guilt for me. I apologize to so many people whose letters have been gathering dust after months.

    It’s not that I don’t care about them; I’m determined to answer every letter. It’s just that this is not easy for me. Often my initial reaction is, “Holy smoke, this is awful! What in the world can I say that will help this person?!” So I have to brood over them for days or weeks before trying a response.

    My email box was full on the first day, and I’ve been falling behind ever since, having received more than 270 letters so far. I’ve published 99 posts, some combining several letters. I’ve answered another 90 or so privately. I still have more than sixty waiting for a reply. Again, my apologies.

    Keeping the letters concise really helps, and lately people have been doing that. I hate having to edit someone else’s very long letter. I’d rather they decide what is the important point.

    I’ve learned so much from all of your comments to those posts. Several times I’ve come to see things differently when you’ve disagreed with me or you see it from a different angle. I really consider this a group effort, and your caring and wisdom is an essential part.

    Monday I’ll publish the 100th Ask Richard post. As far as I’m concerned, being able to write these has been a privilege and a gift from all of you. It will also be my 60th birthday. Thank you for a wonderful birthday present!

  • Korou

    I always enjoy reading Richard’s posts. It’s great to see other people get good advice for their problems that I have sympathy for, and I find them wonderful all-round examples of how to be sympathetic, empathetic, principled and reasonable.

    Thanks, Richard. Keep up the good work!
    And happy birthday!

  • Trace

    Way to go Richard!!!! God bless you man. 😉

  • muggle

    Congratulations, Richard, and to you Hemant for having the good sense to host him here. It is one of the good features of this blog.

    Richard, I’m glad to hear it helps you too but one man can only do so much so there’s no reason for you to feel guilty. I’m sure you do your best to select those who seem to most urgently need advice.

    And you are, for the record, the best advice columnist ever. This is not feel good drivel or sarcastic snarkiesness and put-down. Other advice columns seem to be one or the other.

  • Beijingrrl

    I just want to say that I’m a fan, too. Many happy returns of the day!

  • Carol B


    You know how I feel about you. You are totally the greatest!! Happy happy birthday, my friend.

    Truly, I think you just stuff all your posts into an envelope, mail it to a publisher, and you got yourself a book. It’s great stuff.

  • colin

    I am continually impressed by how patient, caring, and open-minded Richard is in his responses.

    When I read the letters that people send in, I usually form a rather cynical response in my head. Something along the lines of “your family doesn’t understand you? wellllll fuckem!”

    But then of course Richard advises action that will be much better in the long term.

    I think that reading Richard’s responses has made me more willing to consider other people’s points of view and to try to build relationships rather than just throw them away.

  • Robin

    Way to go Richard! But you know I’m still waiting for that book hmmmm? (((hugs)))

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