Tuesday 29 January 2013

Book ~ "Friendfluence: The Surprising Ways Friends Make Us Who We Are" (2013) Carlin Flora

From Goodreads ~ Discover the unexpected ways friends influence our personalities, choices, emotions, and even physical health in this fun and compelling examination of friendship, based on the latest scientific research and ever-relatable anecdotes.

Why is dinner with friends often more laughter filled and less fraught than a meal with family? Although some say it’s because we choose our friends, it’s also because we expect less of them than we do of relatives. While we’re busy scrutinizing our romantic relationships and family dramas, our friends are quietly but strongly influencing everything from the articles we read to our weight fluctuations, from our sex lives to our overall happiness levels.

Evolutionary psychologists have long theorized that friendship has roots in our early dependence on others for survival. These days, we still cherish friends but tend to undervalue their role in our lives. However, the skills one needs to make good friends are among the very skills that lead to success in life, and scientific research has recently exploded with insights about the meaningful and enduring ways friendships influence us. With people marrying later—and often not at all—and more families having just one child, these relationships may be gaining in importance. The evidence even suggests that at times friends have a greater hand in our development and well-being than do our romantic partners and relatives.

Friends see each other through the process of growing up, shape each other’s interests and outlooks, and, painful though it may be, expose each other’s rough edges. Childhood and adolescence, in particular, are marked by the need to create distance between oneself and one’s parents while forging a unique identity within a group of peers, but friends continue to influence us, in ways big and small, straight through old age.

Perpetually busy parents who turn to friends—for intellectual stimulation, emotional support, and a good dose of merriment—find a perfect outlet to relieve the pressures of raising children. In the office setting, talking to a friend for just a few minutes can temporarily boost one’s memory. While we romanticize the idea of the lone genius, friendship often spurs creativity in the arts and sciences. And in recent studies, having close friends was found to reduce a person’s risk of death from breast cancer and coronary disease, while having a spouse was not.

Friendfluence surveys online-only pals, friend breakups, the power of social networks, envy, peer pressure, the dark side of amicable ties, and many other varieties of friendship. Told with warmth, scientific rigor, and a dash of humor, Friendfluence not only illuminates and interprets the science but draws on clinical psychology and philosophy to help readers evaluate and navigate their own important friendships.

We moved a lot when I was a kid.  By the time I got to grade ten, I'd been in eight schools (four different schools just in grade eight!).  I never had any problem making friends but I must say it was hard going to a new school and making new friends just to leave them and have to do the same thing over and over.  I would be penpals with the friends I left behind but we would eventually lose touch.  I don't have the luxury that Gord has in having three friends (Kevin, Craig and Alfred) for 50+ years.

This book delves into friendships ... the topics covered are:
  • What is friendship?
  • Finding and making friends
  • Friendship in childhood
  • Friendship in adolescence
  • The perks of friendship
  • The dark side of friendship
  • How technology affects friendships
  • Making the most of Friendfluence
There are lots of stats and surveys discussed in this book which were quite enlightening.  For example, did you know that 50% of the friends you have today will be out of your live within seven years?

I'd recommend this book.  It made me appreciate the friends I have even more :)


Gina @ Hott Books said...

I enjoyed this book but some of the stats made me sad. I mean -- really? that means that Cheryl & I won't be friends in four years -- that would be horrific!

CMash said...

Wonderful review and post. Not friends with you and Gina? That won't happen!!!! Thank you for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I thought I was in the only family that moved a lot for no good reason. I went to 13 different schools. I have said many times that it is amazing to me that I came out as literate as I did considering there was no standardized curriculum back then. Everytime we moved, the school was teaching something different than the last one. I eventually would make only one friend because I guess I just figured what was the use, we would just be moving again. I will read this book because I do find it harder to make friends than it seems for most. You'd think with all the practice we got moving so much it would be easier.

Teena in Toronto said...

Anon: It wasn't easy starting over all the time, was it?