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in: Death & Dying, Podcast

April 16, 2019 Last updated: May 2, 2019

Podcast #500: Let’s Talk About Death Over Dinner

When you invite people over for a dinner party, you likely think of some delightful conversation topics to bring up to keep your guests engaged. My guest today argues that one of those topics should be death.

His name is Michael Hebb and he’s the founder of Death Over Dinner, an organization that encourages folks to have dinner parties to talk about death — from the philosophical aspects to practical matters like wills and funeral planning. 

Today on the show we discuss why you should invite friends and family to your house to talk death over a plate of lasagna. We begin our conversation discussing the downsides of not talking about death and how ill-prepared Americans are for death both emotionally and financially. Michael then shares the best ways to invite people to a death over dinner party. We then dig into questions you can use to get people talking about death in terms of both the practical and the philosophical. 

True story: after I recorded this episode, I had dinner with some friends and we discussed death and estate planning over pizza. It was a big success.

Show Highlights

  • How Michael’s interest in talking about death started with architecture
  • Our death-phobic culture, and why people don’t talk about it
  • The practical consequences of not talking about death
  • Why the dying experience in American healthcare is broken 
  • The vast importance of having a plan for dying 
  • Why having a plan is a loving service for the people who care about us
  • How to invite people over for dinner in order to talk about death 
  • The logistics of your dinner party, and why to keep things simple
  • How talking about death actually makes you a better person 
  • How to broach especially difficult topics (like losing a child) 
  • Should kids be part of these dinners?
  • How should a death over dinner party end?

Resources/People/Articles Mentioned in Podcast

Connect With Michael 

Michael’s website 

Death Over Dinner website 

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Read the Transcript

Coming soon!