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Toxic Friends/true Friends: How Your Friends Can Make Or Break Your Health, Happiness, Family, And Career Hardcover – February 17, 1999

11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Kirkus Reviews

Most women will have figured this out for themselves by age 30, but for those needing help, here are reasonable parameters for defining friendship, when it's a good thing, and when it goes bad. Isaacs (Just a Note to Say: The Perfect Words for Every Occasion and Business Notes) cites research findings to instruct us that friendship involves such elements as ``mutual trust, respect, understanding, affection, compatibility, acceptance, and affirmation''; and she delineates three categories of relationships: best, good, and casual. Among the predictable sources of friction cited here are the tension between dependence and independence, unrealistic expectations, envy, rushing the friendship, and ``poor friendship choices.'' The rest of this guide looks at particular circumstances: friendships on the job (those between peers have, not surprisingly, the best chance of success) and how friends affect marriage, parenting, singlehood, family life, health, and retirement. Isaacs has researched her subject, and her case stories are entertaining, but readers of women's magazines especially will find this mighty familiar ground. -- Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Florence Isaacs is the author of Just a Note to Say: The Perfect Words for Every Occasion and Business Notes. Her articles have appeared in Good Housekeeping, McCall's, Reader's Digest and Parade. She lives in New York City.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow; 1st edition (February 17, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0688154425
  • ISBN-13: 978-0688154424
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 6.8 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,534,871 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 25 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 13, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I admit to having a vested interest in this book -- I was one of the women interviewed for it. Nonetheless, I found it disappointing. Isaacs' use of "true stories" gives the book solidity, it's well written, and she makes some excellent points about the significance of friendship in women's lives. On the other hand, her discussion is often superficial: e.g., she says she heard all sorts of heartbreaking stories from women who'd been hurt by a friend's betrayal, but then she gives a couple of lame examples and drifts off into vague generalities. I think the book would have been much stronger if she had used MORE examples: a memorable story is a better "lesson" than someone's theorizing about it. Also, she seems to blithely assume that the best response to a "toxic" friendship is to cut that person out of your life completely, but it's often not that simple. (I have one long-term friend, of 30+ years' standing, who I keep in touch with because I feel I'm one of the few sane, normal people in her life -- but I've minimized our contacts to protect my own sanity!) I think that the "life stages" organization the author chose for the book limited her unnecessarily: she couldn't go into depth about more "general" issues because she felt constrained to cover the same "issues/problems/solutions" territory in each chapter. This isn't a bad book by any standard -- I found it a useful summary of the subject -- but, compared to what it could have been, I found it a big letdown.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 29, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Most people might think "relationships are difficult, friends are easy" but such is not always the case. "Toxic Friends, True Friends" is an in-depth discussion of the far-reaching effects friends have on our lives--both good and bad--and what to do about insidiously toxic friendships that may on the surface appear to be normal and healthy. Every woman I've mentioned this book to has wanted to read it; apparently toxic friendships are more common than is generally thought, and the need for healthy friends is a lifelong matter. Married or not, people who don't happen to belong to naturally-occurring job, church, or school groups are as serious about needing and seeking out new friends as they are/were about finding a mate. In general, the book goes way beyond women's magazine platitudes--I'm a psychotherapist, and found "Toxic Friends, True Friends" enlightening on many levels. Good discussion of developing and maintaining on-line friendships as well.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Helene Hoffman on July 5, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I agree with the first customer review -there are many, many more "toxic friends" than people think. With that said, I thought the book is a fine overview of an important subject. However, the author should have given more discussion and suggestions on how to end a toxic friendship. I have had to do this recently, and it is very emotionally difficult. But I have used tools that I have learned over the years such as: writing "anger letters" to the person, which you never send; writing "farewell letters" to the person, also which you may choose to never send. I have learned to cry about the loss, and let go. Very importantly, I try, in every single case, to learn the important lesson: what went wrong, and how should I have done things differently. Unfortunately, the author spends very little to no time on these topics.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Mrs.Lee-Jackson on February 20, 2004
Format: Paperback
This book was a excellent tool in helping me understand who my friends and who are not.I have been struggling with know who is real, why people act the way they do. I wanted to know the dynamics of women friendships. I must say all my questions were answered!!!
Go get this book.
Mrs.Lee-Jackson
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Theresa McCormick-Dunlap on June 7, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I found this book to be extremely definitive. Friends is such a blanket statement and this book brings clarity to the word. If you ever wondered where your 'friends' fit in your life this is the book to have. Not only does it give you guidelines for recognizing friends, it also sheds light on your own behavior. The book is peppered with personal accounts of friendships and even has some valuable information on sibling rivalry and other familial ties. Definitely a book to purchase because it will serve as an excellent reference guide.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Virginia Allain on July 21, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I used to take friends for granted, but now after moving a number of times, I'm more aware of the fragility of friendships. Friends take effort and nurturing and may not last a lifetime. As your life changes, so will your selection of friends. Some will stay with you over the years even when many miles separate you.
This book helps you determine when a friendship isn't working for you any longer. Sometimes it is your needs that have changed and sometimes it is your friend's needs. Some people were never your real friend from the start but it takes awhile to recognize their hidden agenda and how their kind of friendship is hurting you.
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