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What Did I Do Wrong?: What to Do When You Don't Know Why the Friendship Is Over Paperback – May 17, 2011


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Women's friendships and connections are traditionally viewed as strong, faithful, ideally lifelong. But the reality is disturbing: initially intimate friendships can suddenly turn sour and end in dances of avoidance in which phone calls aren't returned and vague excuses are made. Magazine columnist Pryor candidly examines the strangely conflicted nature of women's friendships. "Women's love and commitment to one another is abounding," she writes, "yet when friendships end, we show little to no respect or honor for that which has enriched, supported, and even prolonged our lives." The book is written in a highly personal style and contains intimate anecdotes from her own experience. Even more touching, she genuinely cares for the women she has interviewed, who are heartbroken or confused over the loss of longstanding friendships. Pryor makes some pragmatic suggestions about how to draw back from problematic friends yet communicate caring and respect. She shows that the strongest friendships can come full circle and that while circumstances and lifestyle differences can separate women, it's not impossible for reconnections to occur. Pryor believes that emotional honesty is critical in allowing women to feel good about themselves and their friendship decisions. Good Morning America appearance. (Apr. 4)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"The buzz book" – People Magazine

“Touching…she genuinely cares for the women she has interviewed... Pryor makes pragmatic suggestions…” --Publishers Weekly --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Atria Books; Reprint edition (May 17, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451649657
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451649659
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #640,148 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

45 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Sonjastwin on October 15, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Being in the midst of just such a situation, I was glad to find this book. Having just finished it, I can say that I loved it. I have just finished composing a letter to the friend who is now snubbing me, and even if she never replies, just putting the feelings down on paper has already brought me a sense of relief. I don't understand those who think her letter writing advice stinks. I think it makes a lot of sense. In a nutshell, she says to state your feelings, don't be accusatory and rattle off the other's faults because it will just make them defensive, acknowledge the good things you shared, and leave the door open for reconciliation (if that's what you want). What's wrong with that? I suppose if you're the one doing the snubbing, you'd think this is a bad idea because you already feel guilty and it will make you uncomfortable to face the pain you are causing someone else. But speaking as the snubbed, I'm not saying it wouldn't hurt to get a letter like this from a friend, but that pain is a thousand times better than the endless unanswered questions and self-esteem crushing doubt that comes with being suddenly and unceremoniously blown off.

If nothing else, if this book makes people think about the impact that their behavior has on someone else, then it's a good thing. If you take nothing else away remember this, with someone that you have shared a bond (I'm not talking about a casual relationship), you are not sparing their feelings or keeping them from being hurt by disappearing from their life without a word! You are killing a part of their soul. If you dated some loser for six months that you never even loved, you would give him the courtesy of a letter or a breakup talk or something when you ended the relationship.
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39 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Cathy Goodwin TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 19, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Pryor's book exceeded my expectations. I picked it up out of idle curiosity and, midway through, got on the phone to a female friend: "You've got to read this! I have a story..."

And that's the power of What Did I Do Wrong (WDIDW): universal appeal and a compelling "can't put this down" narrative style. Pryor creates a unique genre between self-help and personal essay: she's more like the big sister or mentor, with research and attitude, rather than the expert or ordinary person with an opinion. Not bad.

Pryor focuses on women who have close friendships, lasting several years, with frequent contact and conversation. We learn what happens when one friend says, "Enough! I'm ready to move on." Maybe she's just outgrowing the friendship. Or maybe her friend inadvertently did something that made her see their relationship in a new, ugly light. The "initiator" of the breakup tends to just disappear out of the "receiver's" life, leaving the "receiver" baffled, hurt and angry, often unable to feel closure.

Pryor encourages the "initiator" to talk to the "receiver," either in person or via letter. She has become something of an expert in helping others write these letters, beginning with the straightforward communication question: "What is your objective?"

Before reading WDIDW, I would have said, "Typically these conversations create awkwardness and accomplish nothing." But now I would say, "It can be important to assure the receiver that she didn't do anything horrible." The most painful stories in Pryor's book describe situations when one friend believed a false rumor about the other -- in one case, a woman left her neighborhood after friends dropped her based on a bizarre story spread by one woman's housekeeper.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth J. Rogers on May 1, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This book was a wonderful read - I didn't want it to end. Liz's writing style is bouncy and easy going. She moves you through the visual elements of each of the stories of the women who's lives were left in tatters over unexplained abruptly ended friendships. I needed some help on this subject, having been dumped by a great friend from my childhood seven years ago. I still carried the confusion and sadness and wondered how she could have done this. What was she thinking?The book reveals much insight into those women who are the "dumpers" What that process was like for them. There aren't many books out there on this subject - so grab this one and have a few tissues on hand - the tears you will shed will be not only for these stories of broken hearts, but for the sorrow you still might carry around for your own loss. Well done, Liz
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful By ireadthis on November 18, 2008
Format: Hardcover
While I think this is an interesting topic, Pryor's anecdotes are pretty one note and lack depth. She tells the same story over and over again in the same way and adds a few personal details about each woman-they're an actress you may have heard of! a successful executive who drops by to show off their fancy new car! a woman from Georgia who was part of a clique that had a silly name! (just like the ya ya sisterhood)in order to add some life and definition to them. Most of these details ring false and there isn't any insight into friendships breaking up just "wow, it's painful".

The most enlightening story in the book is about the author herself; after befriending a woman whose daughter was in the same ballet class, the author decided to end the friendship and iced her without telling her why, completely stopped talking to her and wouldn't return her calls. Four years later the girls end up at the same school and on the first day of school the author decides now would be a good time to renew the acquaintance, she says she is just trying to be civil but really, she didn't need the woman before and now she does (new school, new cliques of parents)so she approaches her as though nothing had ever happened and is shocked when the woman is rude to her and wants nothing to do with her. Shocked to the point of calling her and confronting her. Basically "get out of my life I don't need you, oh wait, now I do because otherwise this will be awkward for me". I think I would rather read the other woman's book, she may actually have some self awareness, the author does not.
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