Review: ‘Friendfluence’ by Carlin Flora

by Kim on January 24, 2013 · 9 comments

Post image for Review: ‘Friendfluence’ by Carlin Flora

Title: Friendfluence: The Surprising Ways Friends Make Us Who We Are
Author: Carlin Flora
Genre: Nonfiction
Year: 2013
Publisher: Doubleday
Acquired: From the publisher via NetGalley
Rating: ★★★½☆

Review: “Friendfluence,” writes journalist Carlin Flora, “is the powerful and often underappreciated role that friends — past and present — play in determining the shape and direction of our lives.” Studies have shown that our friends help mold our identities and, as adults, subtly influence our beliefs, values and physical and emotional health. Our friends are both the most stable and the most flexible relationships we have, yet friendships are not nearly as well-studied or well-recognized as our relationships with our families and our spouses.

In Friendfluence, Flora takes a broad look at the research that is available about friendship, starting with our childhood pals, the benefits and dark sides of friendship, and how technology is changing the way we make friends and maintain friendships. In the book, Flora makes a convincing argument that our friends are more than just extras — they are vital relationships in our lives.

Friendship is one of those topics that I’m really fascinated with right now. I’m not sure why exactly, a mix of my stage in life and recent changes for some of my wonderful close friends perhaps. But for whatever reason, I’m really curious to read about friendship and how we make and keep friends.

For that curiosity, Friendfluence was almost perfect. Friendfluence is a pretty slim book, but I think Flora does an excellent job in packing in a lot of information without feeling overloaded. I felt like I got a good overview of the current research on friendship, mixed with a healthy dose of personal anecdotes and interviews.

And because I’m a nerd, one of my favorite things about the book was the extensive number of other interesting books that Flora cited — she provides a perfect road map of other books to read to explore the topics she covers in a more in-depth manner. I have a whole list of other books on friendship I’m dying to get from the library:

If you are curious about friendship and are looking for a general by well-researched look at the current science of friendship, Friendfluence is a book worth picking up.

Other Reviews:

If you have reviewed this book, please leave a link to the review in the comments and I will add your review to the main post. All I ask is for you to do the same to mine — thanks!

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Penelope January 25, 2013 at 5:50 am

Another great book is The Friendship Factor by Alan Loy Mcguiness

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Heather January 25, 2013 at 7:56 am

i haven’t really thought of friends in a postive light. mostly it’s been the negative influence in the teen years that have caused us grief. This one might be of interest to daughter. Will forward her your link so she can check it out. thanks.

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Kim January 29, 2013 at 6:33 pm

I had a very close group of friends as a teenager, and we’ve maintained that friendship to a degree since. I’m always interested in thinking about how these relationships form and evolve. I hope your daughter enjoys the book!

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Care January 25, 2013 at 10:04 am

I had a dream last night that included my maid of honor and now someone I no longer have any contact with. So sad. Was there a chapter on this odd phenomena? The no-longer friendships? Did you read that book written by the (Chicago?) blogger who tried to find a new bestie? I can’t recall the name of it or even how to find it.

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Kim January 29, 2013 at 6:34 pm

The book talks a little bit about maintaining friendship, but it’s not a huge part of the book. I haven’t read MWF Seeks BFF yet, although I bought it right when it came out.

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Sheila (Book Journey) January 25, 2013 at 12:25 pm

I dont think I have ever read a non fiction book on friendships, and now that I read your review I find that so odd. In my life with so little family, my friendships are a good part of the building blocks of my life.

I am going to look for this book.

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Kim January 29, 2013 at 6:34 pm

My family is a huge part of my life, but friendships have been important too, since I’ve lived a decent distance from home most of my adult life.

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Ashley (Marginalia) January 28, 2013 at 2:08 am

This is a topic I’m also thinking about a lot lately, so I just added this to my to-read list! I took an anthropology course in college about how we define our identities and our “tribes,” and friendship was a huge theme throughout. This post makes me want to go dig out that syllabus and find the list of readings so I can share it. I’ll have to poke around and see if I can find it.

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Kim January 29, 2013 at 6:35 pm

I’d love to see that syllabus! One of my big regrets is that I never took anthropology in college.

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