Monday, January 21, 2013
Friendfluence by Carlin Flora
In Friendfluence, author Carlin Flora does an exhaustive survey of the literature and research surrounding friendship. She discusses the desire for friends that we all are born with, and how our friends allow us to develop our personalities fully, providing support for our hopes and desires. She goes back to the roots of friendship, talking about the research on how children find and make friends as small children, and how their success or failure impacts their later life and even their career and marriage successes. She then moves on to the teen years, when friends are the most important influence in an individual's life, as they move to create themselves as individuals outside of their nuclear family structure.
There are many types of friends and friendships. The work friendship is different from that of two people who share a common interest. There are friends who have influence for good in our lives, and there are friends who impact us in a negative way. Flora talks about how to disengage from a negative friendship, which is a skill set many of us are not familiar with. She also discusses the difference in male-male friendships, as opposed to male-female friendships, and how those differ from love relationships.
In an interesting chapter, the author discusses the way that virtual friendships are dominant in many people's lives, and how these friendships can fill voids when no one in the everyday routine meets the specific needs of an individual. The pitfalls of this type of friendship is also covered, along with the research on whether the new paradigm of online time changes the core relationships an individual might have.
While exhaustive, the book does not read like a textbook. Rather, the author has written in an engaging style, and includes many examples that illustrate points in a manner that is familiar to the reader. The reader will finish the book both validated in their own friendships and with ideas how to extend and expand their friendship circle. This book is recommended for many types of readers; parents struggling to help their children establish friendships, those interested in the role friendship plays in our lives, and those with friendship issues they need to resolve.