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Friendfluence: The Surprising Ways Friends Make Us Who We Are Paperback – October 8, 2013


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor (October 8, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307946959
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307946959
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #367,877 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Praise for Carlin Flora's Friendfluence

“A charming and informative examination of the impact of friendship. . . . Timely, savvy, and judicious. . . . Awash in arresting insights with practical implications, many of them counter-intuitive.”
The Huffington Post
 
“If you’ve been thinking of starting a book club with your BFFs, here’s your first assignment.”
—BookPage
 
“Contemporary scientists and ancient philosophers agree: friendship is a key to happiness, and Friendfluence is a fascinating and thought-provoking examination of the new science that explores this crucial element of our lives. Friendfluence is so persuasive that the minute I put the book down, I made three dates to see friends.”
—Gretchen Rubin, New York Times bestselling author of The Happiness Project
 
“Carlin Flora has written a delightful book on the power of friendship. Combining the latest research with engaging stories, Friendfluence shines with authenticity and is a must-read for anyone who wants to know more about our ancient human desire to connect.”
—James H. Fowler, co-author of Connected

“Flora offers up a new way to think not just of our friends but of ourselves. . . . 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.”
The Advocate

“Intriguing . . . A convincing case for nurturing friendships in many of the same ways we nurture relationships with partners and other family—both online and off.”
Kirkus Reviews

“[Flora’s] interdisciplinary discussion draws on scientific research, philosophy, and anecdotes to examine friendship across a lifespan, from playground pals to adolescent and adult relationships. . . . Compelling. . . . Discloses many of friendship’s secrets.”
Publishers Weekly

“A seminal contribution to the literature on friendship. In this meticulously researched and eminently readable book, journalist Carlin Flora has mined the extant research on this complex topic and woven it together with real-life examples (both her own and others). In so doing, she helps explain how these relationships evolve and their impact on our day-to-day lives from childhood through adulthood.”
—Irene Levine, Ph.D., author of Friends Forever: Surviving a Breakup With Your Best Friend

“We tend to think of friends as relationships we simply have, when in profound ways, friends both reflect and determine who we actually are. Happiness and success begin with self-knowledge, and as Carlin Flora shows us in her compelling and delightful book Friendfluence, the key to understanding yourself may well lie in your friendships, past and present. This is a must-read for anyone looking to experience greater well-being... in other words, for everyone.”
—Heidi Grant Halvorson, Ph.D., author of Succeed and Director of the Motivation Science Center, Columbia Business School

“A captivating read about an eternally fascinating subject—friendship. Flora’s easy-to-read prose blends narrative and scientific research seamlessly. You will finish the book with a better understanding of why good friends are worth keeping.”
—Jane Gradwohl Nash, Professor of Psychology and one of the “Girls From Ames

“In our changing social world of flexible networks, shifting families and blurred boundaries, many of us sense that friends and friendships have increased in importance, but we can’t say why. In Friendfluence, Carlin Flora tells us precisely why in her lively account of both the science and poetry of friendship. Worthy reading for anyone who is not a hermit in the woods—or, perhaps, especially by the friendless.”
—Dalton Conley Ph.D., author of The Pecking Order and Professor of Sociology at New York University

Friendfluence offers a penetrating look at our most taken-for-granted relationship. Carlin Flora’s observations, backed up by the latest research, will not only prompt you to dissect every key friendship you’ve had since kindergarten, but inspire you to become a better friend.”
—Sally Koslow, author of Slouching Toward Adulthood: Observations from the Not-So-Empty Nest and the novel, With Friends Like These

“I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t be who I am without my dear friends. Now Carlin Flora explains why and how friends matter so much. A fascinating read!”
—MJ Ryan, author of This Year I Will: How to Change a Habit, Keep a Resolution or Make a Dream Come True

About the Author

Carlin Flora was on the staff of Psychology Today for eight years, most recently as features editor. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan and Columbia University School of Journalism and has written for Discover, Glamour, Women’s Health, and Men’s Health, among others. She has also appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Today Show, CNN, Fox News, and 20/20. She lives in Queens, New York.


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Customer Reviews

A hard to put down book that will change your life and the way you look at things.
My Cozie Corner {Book Reviews}
Though the book presents a lot of scholarly work, the manner in which the research is presented is very engaging and never dry.
Linotte
I enjoyed one but didn't learn much and I learned from another but didn't enjoy it as much.
Joshua Gowin

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Dorothea Brooke on January 17, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In lucid, compelling language, Carlin Flora offers a gently radical new way to think not just of our friends but of ourselves. In a world full of self-help books that dissect romantic relationships and nuclear families, we tend to overlook the people who may influence more than anyone else: our peers.

From earliest childhood on, friends and playmates teach us empathy and the basic social skills needed to interact with others. The lessons we learn (or fail to learn) may have more of an impact on our future lives than what test scores we get or where we go to college. Flora also explores the way peer pressure is real--and not always bad. Did you know that kids from troubled, unstable families do fine in school--if their friends come from stable homes? Peers who exert a positive influence overpower the effect of a bad home situation. But if kids have friends who also tend to come from unstable homes, grades suffer and risk of dropping out, drug abuse, etc. increase? It doesn't end there. Throughout life, people whose friends are happier--people who set reasonable but ambitious goals and then take steps to meet them--will be happier themselves, while those whose friends are negative and self-defeating will absorb some of those tendencies, even when they think they aren't. If your friends gain weight, you are likely to. If your friends lose weight, you are likely to. Friendships are also great test cases for dealing with interpersonal conflict, so those with more healthy friendships will tend to have healthier romantic relationships. Moreover, Flora shows us that couples who have more couple friends are happier than those who don't.

All in all, this is a very engaging, hard-to-put down book that develops a very powerful idea. It will change the way you think of your life--and might make you both happier, and more empathetic and engaged with others.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Tammy Blackwell-Keith on January 28, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Friendfluence investigates the types of friends people have and how these friends have influenced different types of behaviors. The novel looks at the development of friendships, male and female, over many years. From adolescence to adulthood, friends or lack thereof can provide significant influence. The onset of social media is examined and how this "instant contact" has altered the "face to face" friendships of the past. You may agree or disagree with the findings in the book, but I think you will find it is very captivating and filled with *aha!* moments.
Two of the most profound ideas that she discusses is how two people destined for different things can become disastrous if they become friends. This is highlighted in many shows such as Wicked Attraction on the ID Channel. The other is that those the student who move constantly have a harder time retaining friends. I did find as a military brat that it was harder to keep friends because I was constantly changing schools as were those peers of mine. I could be at a school for 6 months and then have to move to another. It did make it harder; however I find that I developed a strength to adapt to change better than those that didn't.
I disagree with her statement "while friendships among people of different races are statistically rare in the United States, having such a friend lowers your levels of prejudice and even those of your friends." As a military brat I always had interracial friends so I knew my perception could be inaccurate. I do however have five girls ranging in age from 13 - 23 and many of their friends I have "adopted." I asked them this question and was told they didn't believe this to be true. Yet, I think this shows the evolution of friends over the years.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Sandra Kirkland VINE VOICE on March 11, 2013
Format: Hardcover
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.
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