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Friends Forever

How Girls and Women Forge Lasting Relationships

Suzanne Degges-White and Christine Borzumato-Gainey

Through thick and thin and everything along the way, it's through friendships that we understand our lives. In this book, authors Suzanne Degges-White, PhD and Christine Borzumato-Gainey, PhD not only explore the roles friendships play for girls and women over the course of a life, but offer a guide to finding new friends and enhancing current relationships. Using interviews with hundreds of women, spanning the ages of 4 to 94, Friends Forever provides readers with a contemporary perspective on female friendship. These personal stories, informed by the latest research on friendship, offer a rich and colorful picture that combines a life stage chronology of friendship with a guide for becoming the friend you would like to have while building strong friendships along the way. Readers will learn how to design and sustain their ideal friendscape, the dynamic and often misunderstood realm in which such bonds flourish. The authors thoughtfully examine the biological and cultural drive towards social connections among women and provide self-reflection and self-exploration opportunities that encourage readers to better understand their own roles in relationships and the roles that others in their social landscapes play. « less more »
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Pages: 296Size: 5 3/4 x 8 3/4
978-1-4422-0200-9 • Hardback • January 2011 • $46.00 • (£31.95)
978-1-4422-0201-6 • Paperback • October 2013 • $29.00 • (£19.95)
978-1-4422-0202-3 • eBook • January 2011 • $28.99 • (£19.95)
Suzanne Degges-White is a counselor in private practice,and professor and chair of the department of Counseling, Adult and Higher Education at Northern Illinois University. She is the author of several book chapters, journal articles, and other publications.

Christine Borzumato-Gainey is a Counselor and Instructor at Elon University, NC. She is the author of several publications and presentations.
1 Introduction Friendship Basics
2 Part I: Why Women Need Friends
3 1 The Biology of Friendship - to "Tend and Befriend"
4 2 Friendship in Context: Social Relationships in the USA
5 3 "Friendology"or the Science of Friendship
6 Part II: Friendship Chronology
7 4 Early Childhood: First Friends
8 5 Adolescent Friendships: Seeking Ourselves in our Friends
9 6 Emerging Adulthood: Decisions, Decisions
10 7 Coupled-Up but No Kids Yet
11 8 Motherhood: Kids on Board
12 9 The Midlife Years: Re-Connecting with Ourselves & Seeking Companions
13 10 The Long Road Home: Community and Friendship in Older Adulthood
14 Part III: Making Friends - Starting with Yourself
15 11 Understanding Who You Are as a Friend
16 12 Roadblocks to Friendships
17 Part IV: Taking a Census of your Circle of Friends
18 13 Mapping Out Your FriendScape
19 14 Redesigning Your Social Landscape
20 15 Finding New Friends
21 Part V: Strategies for Survival - Building and Maintaining Lasting Friendships
22 16 Building Strong Friendships from the Beginning
23 17 Tips to Strengthen Existing Friendships
24 18 Friendship in the Digital Age: Technology Keeps Us Connected-Sometimes!
25 19 Full-Time Friend, Part-Time Lover: Making Friends with your Mate
26 20 Coming Full Circle with a Circle of Friends
Friends Forever carefully and cheerfully covers every aspect and stage of girls' and women's friendships with each other. Easy to read, well-researched, and with wonderful case examples, this book is a must for anyone wishing to understand the ins and outs of these vitally important relationships.
Geoffrey L. Greif, PhD, University of Maryland School of Social Work, author of Buddy System: Understanding Male Friendships

Friends are vital to our health and happiness, but finding and keeping pals is not always easy. This wise book offers solid advice on how to build and maintain strong friendships and an essential network of support. The authors shed light on the potholes of friendship to prevent us from stumbling and tell how to be the kind of friend whose relationships will endure 'forever.'
Marla Paul, author of The Friendship Crisis: Finding, Making and Keeping Friends When You're Not a Kid Anymore

Women building and maintaining lasting friendships is a 'strategy for survival,' the authors posit, anchoring their argument in the basics of biology. Namely the fact that women’s brains are more 'friendship-ready' with superior in-utero development of what neuroscientists dub 'the social brain,' which controls communication, nurturing, and understanding of social nuances. Girls enter the world better able to observe and remember emotional details and comprehend nonverbal communication since female biology clearly developed 'to encourage and support strong alliances' as a safety net. Throughout the 'friendship chronology' from early childhood’s first friends through midlife’s reconnection with ourselves and others’ companionship and the communities formed by older adults, new friendships are always in the offing, thanks to the female biological tendency toward 'an unfailing authenticity, candid self-awareness, and the ability to focus on the needs and interests of others over ourselves.' Degges-White and Borzumato-Gainey’s authorial collaboration has produced a resource as valuable, perhaps, as a friend.

Gleaning from their own experiences with friends, families, and responsibilities, and supported by hundreds of interviews, Degges-White and Borzumato-Gainey attempt to make sense of female relationships, from why we need them to how to make them. Highlighting the murky differences between female and male friendships, this work is clearly written by women for women. The book tracks and analyzes female friendships from early childhood to late life, tackling milestones like coupling, marriage, and childbirth. Parallel features of female friendships arise at every age, from the obvious (forming friendships based on common interest) to more crucial elements of trust, honesty, and reciprocity. Relatable tales and easy-to-implement recommendations will equip female readers with the confidence to form new, lasting friendships and the language with which to discuss their current ones. In the end, making friends for women of any age, at any stage in life, will seem less daunting and more inviting than ever.
Publishers Weekly

This readable, research-based study is both an academic resource and a self-help book for women wanting to deepen friendships or broaden their friendship circles. The authors, who are both counselors and scholars, review the concept of friendship from various viewpoints: individual psychology, social psychology, and individual well-being and personal development. The book's 20 chapters (organized into five sections) examine friendship across the life span, from early childhood to old age, and across life conditions (single, married, divorced, parenting, career, and so on). Not included in the developmental discussion are issues of race and religion across friends; such analysis would have made the book richer than it already is. The first section reviews human social connection, offering some historical background and commenting on social media in friendships; the second considers friendship from a developmental perspective. The last three sections offer self-help materials: how to analyze oneself as a friend, understand one's friendship landscape, and build and sustain friendships over time. Including chapter references, this book is useful in both academic and personal settings--including by psychotherapists as bibliotherapy.

Readers will be given tools to enrich their lives and their relationships. At the most basic level, readers will come away with the following:

1)Understanding of the influence of biology, psychology, and society on friendship needs;

2)A sense of connection to other women who have struggled with challenges to lasting friendships;

3)Greater knowledge of the personal qualities that are crucial to lasting friendships and the level to which she offers these to her friends;

4)A new perspective on her current network of friends and a new understanding of how well these friends are meeting her emotional and instrumental needs;

5)Strategies to transform current networks into more effective support systems; and

6)Approaches for making new friends and strengthening current friendships.