Monday, 23 April 2018

You're the Only One I Can Tell

Finished April 17
You're the Only One I Can Tell: Inside the Language of Women's Friendships by Deborah Tannen, read by the author

This book continues to look at communication, as Tannen's previous books have, this time focusing on women's friendships. She looks at all types of friendships, from intimate to casual, similar in age to cross-generational, with other women and with men.
Mostly she focuses on friendships between women, but she also looks at those instances where women identified men as their closest friend and how those relationships were similar or dissimilar to those whose closest friendships were with women.
She looked at one on one friendship but also group friendship, and she looked at the nature of friendship, from those one can truly be oneself with, to those that required playing a certain role. In a few cases, she even looked at culture and how that affects friendships.
She has done a lot of research, but what I always enjoy about her books are the examples, where she actually looks at real life friendships up close.
Some things that I found fascinating was the fears that attach themselves to some friendship situations, that she describes as FOBLO (Fear of Being Left Out) and FOGKO (Fear of Getting Left Out) that can mean that we hide part of ourselves to fit in.
I don't have a lot of close friends, and I have old friends that I'm seldom in touch with, friends who've set limits on what kind of friendship they want from me (scaling back intimacy to the acquaintance level), and friends I can instantly pick up with after a long separation.
Interestingly, I've become both more careful in who I share some personal information with, and more open about some aspects of my life. And Tannen found all of these behaviours in her research. I really enjoyed learning more about the nature of friendship and about using that learning to look at my own relationships.

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