Friendship in your twenties is weird. Long gone are the days when you saw your friends every single day at school, wore friendship bracelets to declare to the world that you would be BFF and swore that there would never be a day go by when you didn’t see each other.
Now, there is work, the fact that you all live across the country, that some of you have boyfriends, then husbands, kids and houses to contend with. Suddenly everyone is at a different stage of life and it can be difficult to coordinate meeting up in the same way that you once did.
I’m not ashamed to admit that I find maintaining friendships as an adult hard work. It’s quite honestly something that I find difficult to keep on top of. But strong friendships are also more necessary for me now than ever. While school was hard in its own way, navigating the ‘real world’ is beyond daunting as a young adult. You’re flung out of the education system with the expectation that you’ll just bumble along as you’re meant to. And everyone ignores the fact that you have no real clue what a mortgage is, how taxes work or how you’re meant to go from an inexperienced adult into one who seems like they’ve got it all together.
Yet it’s easy to forget just how much you need them when you’re sat staring at a pile of bills bigger than you are, a to-do list that would most likely take an eternity to get through and you’re battling with a determination to make it at least seem like you know what you’re doing. And it’s even easier to forget how much you need your friends when trying to meet up with them means having to organise a holiday day just to see them for an afternoon.
A month or so ago, I was kindly sent a copy of Kate Leaver’s 'The Friendship Cure: A Manifesto for Reconnecting in the Modern World' by Duckworth Publishers. And it couldn’t have come at a better time. It dropped through my front door just as I was gearing up to leave my job to become a full-time freelance writer and would find that I need a strong friendship group by my side more than ever before.
That said though, I’m not normally one to read these kinds of books. I generally prefer to spend my evenings getting lost in a fiction book but I have to admit that Kate had me gripped with her non-fiction look into the notion of friendship from the get-go.
The book includes facts on friendship, snippets of investigative journalism and interviews with everyone from Kate’s own friends to behavioural scientists. And yet, somehow, Kate manages to make the entire book read like a story. I felt just as engrossed in it as I would have done if I were reading a fictional piece of text, not an informative piece of literature and I devoured it from start to finish in just a few days.
I then spent the next few days spewing out facts about friendship to anyone who would listen and I found myself suddenly contacting friends that I hadn’t spoken to in weeks, in an attempt to nurture the friendships that I had been somewhat neglecting in favour of ‘life’. With every form of friendship addressed (from friendships that stand the test of time to toxic friendships), Kate leaves no stone unturned and with every page, you turn, you’ll find yourself feeling more and more inclined to pick up the phone and speak to a friend.
In a day and age where physically meeting up with people seems to be getting harder to fit into our busy schedule, books like Kate’s 'The Friendship Cure' are necessary to remind us of the importance of our friends. So I urge you all to grab yourself a copy and then to pick up the phone to organise that long overdue coffee catch up with a friend that you haven't seen in far too long...
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