Offers a unique approach to becoming a better friend to FIND better friendships
We know that our friendships increase our happiness, our health, and our longevity, yet people in the U.S. have fewer close confidantes today than we did three decades ago. Even though there’s a huge amount of information in the media discussing these relationships, and our social media feeds run 24/7, most of us haven’t come up with a constructive approach to friendship. But learning to BE a better friend is the first step to acquiring and cultivating better, more rewarding friendships.
At her own birthday celebration, Glenda Shaw found herself questioning the friends and the friendships there to help her. It dawned on her that she did not feel truly connected to most of them. Something felt terribly wrong. She realized that what she shared with her birthday guests was proximity: they worked together, they lived close to each other, they went to the same networking events and movies. There were, however, other friends with whom she shared more fundamental qualities: the disposition of being encouraging to people, an attitude of looking for purpose in life, a spirit of adventure. Those were the friendships that meant something, the ones that felt truly deep and real.
Friendship is voluntary; it’s not legally binding; and it usually has no economic consequences. Yet, friendship, true friendship, is important and comes with challenges the can make or break a relationship. Each chapter of Better You, Better Friends: A Whole New Approach to Friendship explores and addresses a particular kind of challenge—envy, money, honesty—and discusses ways to overcome them or to know when to bow out of a relationship that brings more stress than happiness. Through expert input and personal stories, including her own, Shaw offers a new level of understanding of what makes a good friendship and a good friend.
Glenda D. Shaw has worked for more than twenty-five years as a producer for talk television and radio shows in Los Angeles and New York for companies including Viacom, King World, and MTV. Nominated for two Daytime Emmys for producing and writing, she is a member of the Writers Guild of America, the Producers Guild of America, and the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. She has also written for magazines, including LA Style.
1. “You’ve Got to Be Kidding!
2. When Is a Friend a Friend?
3. From Your Friend’s Perspective
4. Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better!
5. Jealousy: Three’s a Crowd
6. Money: Let’s Talk about It!
7. Transitions I: When Big Life Changes Blow In
8. Transitions II: When Illness Strikes
9. Boundaries: Set Them, Respect Them
10. Honesty: Telling Difficult Truths
11. Friends at Work
12. Strengthening the Bonds of Friendship
13. Friends from a Distance
14. Being Open to Making New Friends
15. Beyond Proximity
About the Author
Shaw mines her personal history to offer a simple guide on how readers can better navigate finding friends and maintaining friendships. She organizes friendships into categories—essentials, collaborators, associates, mentors/mentees—and addresses how to manage expectations and boundaries within each. Unwanted feelings that can arise in a friendship, such as jealousy and envy (“primitive survival mechanisms that are often no longer relevant to our physical well-being”), are explored, and to help deepen and maintain existing friendships, Shaw advises paying attention and asking follow-up questions. The easy-to-follow guidance will be of particular use to those who are unhappy within their friendships but can’t quite figure out why.
There are all kinds of friends: childhood buddies, workout pals, office mates, and social media followers. But what makes an authentic friend? And how do you hold on to a true friend? Shaw sifts through studies and personal experiences to find the answers. She sorts friends into four categories: essential, collaborators, associates, and mentors/mentees, and offers defining characteristics for each. She warns about the things that put stress on friendships, including envy, money, competition, politics, and such life transitions as divorce, illness, and unemployment. There will always be misunderstandings and hurt feelings among friends, and Shaw goes through some common complaints. But she also suggests trying to see things from the friend’s perspective and outlines practical steps to address and resolve issues and set boundaries before friendships are destroyed or take over our lives. Perhaps the greatest insights Shaw offers are suggestions on how to find new friends by following your interests and how to strengthen friendships by being the kind of friend you wish you could have. In this time of COVID-19 and unrest, we need all the friends we can get.
To TV talk-show producer Shaw, the role of friendship isn’t terribly appreciated although friends are a vital part of life. To that end she writes to help readers understand these bonds and become a better friend. She describes the different levels of friends (e.g., acquaintances, associates) and discusses how to navigate through issues such as jealousy, feelings of rejection, money imbalances, and conflicts in general. In the final chapter Shaw suggests techniques for finding and making new friends who help explore and celebrate different parts of one’s personality.
Just when you thought you knew who your friends were, you read this book and realize you don’t know the half of it. This book taught me that friendships aren’t the cure for loneliness, but a gateway to knowing yourself better. Better You, Better Friends is a compelling query on the dynamics of your life relationships and an enlightening journey on how to manage them.
Glenda Shaw takes us on a deep journey of self-examination as she delves into the complex, joyous, and sometimes painstaking aspects of friendship. As many of us are revamping, restructuring, and reinventing our lives in these changing times, Glenda reminds us that reassessing the value of our friendships is just as important for a long and happy life.
An inspiring and thought-provoking read about the most important relationships you choose in your life—your friends. Shaw's Better You, Better Friends will challenge you to think about the choices you make in your friendships and how small adjustments can have a meaningful impact on the relationships in your life.
Glenda Shaw not only provides amazing insight about friendship in her newest book, but she is the perfect person to write the book because she lives it out as well. I am completely convinced that your friendships will become that much better after reading her newest book.
For all those who have felt lonely even with a busy social life, Glenda’s honest and reflective story-telling will speak to the hearts of those who are ready for deeper and closer friendships. From her own journey she will gift readers with research, vulnerability, and strategies that can inspire personal growth and more meaningful friendships.
9/10/21, AM Northwest, KATU-TV ABC affiliate (Portland, OR): Glenda Shaw was interviewed about the book and discussed building closer connections.
9/20/21, Planet Seniors, WKNY-AM (Kingston, NY): Glenda discussed themes from the book including boundaries, interaction and communications.
9/21/21, WGVU-FM (Grand Rapids, MI): Glenda Shaw was interviewed about the book and the science about being and having a friend.
10/4/21, Louie B. Free Radio Show, WFMJ (Youngstown, OH): Glenda Shaw was interviewed about the book.
10/7/21, The Curious Man Podcast: Glenda talked about key issues she addresses in the book.
10/18/21, KING-TV (Seattle): Glenda Shaw provided insights from the book with host Rebecca Perry.
9/29/21, Wai Yan Can: A summary of the book and Shaw's thoughts on friendship were featured in this blog post.