Reading Corner – Best Friends Forever

I can’t believe it. Another week and no movies. Sorry folks! I can promise you I’ll have a Movie Monday next week. I know for a fact that we’ll be watching a few things in the coming week.

On the topic of reading, I recently finished a non-fiction book about friendships. I know, where did that come from? Someone posted an article about the challenges of making friends as an adult in an online community that I frequent. After reading the article, I looked up one of the books that was cited to see if I might like to read the book, and of course Amazon suggested similar reading and my interest spiraled from there. As someone who moves every few years, I definitely have encountered challenges making friends, felt awkward about how to make friends, and experienced self-doubt about friendships that have waxed or waned with separation or distance. I’d never thought to read anything on the topic before but suddenly I was very interested in what others had to say.

My first choice, Best Friends Forever: Surviving a Breakup with Your Best Friend. I know. Sounds a little harsh. But the title is a little deceiving. It’s not entirely about breaking up best friendships, but it is about deconstructing the concept of “Best Friends Forever” – which I personally think is a concept that as adults we should allow ourselves to set aside. I don’t like labels. I think every friendship has value, whether casual or deep and meaningful. I don’t think it’s fair to label anyone better than anyone else. I know I’ve met people in my adult life, some for short periods of time even, whom I consider close friends and whom I would be comfortable sitting down and spending time together no matter how much time has passed since we last talked or saw one another. At times I might have even felt closer to some of these individuals more than anyone else at the time. What I’ve come to learn over the years, and was validated by numerous references in the book, is that friends come and go, and that’s ok.

Someone in the online community, after reading the above mentioned article posted to the group that a friend once said, “we have friends for reasons, and friends for seasons, and friends for lifetimes.” I think I like the reference to ‘friends for seasons’ the most because I would agree. Best Friends Forever also similarly says, “friendships are seasonal, lasting for only a certain period of our lives…This does not, however, mean that they do not make a serious impact on the lives of the women involved, or that their passing will go unnoticed.”

What has been hard for me over the years, and I think perhaps what drove me to want to read this book the most, was the awkward feelings I’ve had after leaving an area and thinking my casual friendships were more than perhaps they were, as well as feeling somewhat of a failure for not maintaining said friendships, or other friendships from ages longer past – school friends, etc. I found it particularly comforting that Best Friends Forever really explored the topic of the  “guilt, failure, and stigma associated with failed friendships.”

Author Irene S. Levine surveyed 1,500 women, asking them about their friendships and breakups. Best Friends Forever is packed with stories that every women will relate to, with suggestions on how to weather a stormy friendship and comfort for those who might still be recovering from a lost friend for a host of different reasons. Levine defines friendship by saying that, “A friendship, like a romantic relationship, is founded on two different personalities, both of whom grow and change, for better or worse, over the course of time.” I’d never thought of it like that, but it is so true.

One woman surveyed was quoting saying the following, “A failed friendship isn’t really a failure. It’s about life changing and people moving on. Sometimes a friendship dwindles but that can be appropriate and right. It is not a failure.”

I think it goes without saying, I found Best Friends Forever to be interesting, quick and easy to read, and would recommend it to each and every woman out there. Levine also touches on the differences between female-female friendships and male-male friendships, which I also found intriguing. Go ahead ladies, check it out. And stop beating yourself up about that one friendship that didn’t last or fell apart. It’s ok.

Friendships are discovered rather than made.
~ Harriet Beecher Stowe

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6 comments

  1. Great post Jess, I have often felt that way too about Friends that I made but no longer keep in touch with, first of all I am to blame for some of it because I get caught up in my little world here and don’t take time to nurture some friendships. However what caught my attention most was the thought that people are with you for a moment in time for a purpose and I have really always felt that. That said you and I’s friendship seems to be the one that we could go a long time without constant contact and pick right back up where we left off and enjoy one another’s company. I really like those kind of friendships!

    Like this

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