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What Did I Do Wrong?: When Women Don't Tell…

What Did I Do Wrong?: When Women Don't Tell Each Other the Friendship is…

by Liz Pryor

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Whenever I see a post or a comment saying, “Am I the only one who...?” or “It’s probably just me, but...” I always feel a righteous anger seasoned with derision. “NO, you are NOT the only one!” I tend to yell at my screen. Humanity’s obsession with individuality, and the strongly American “special snowflake” ideal runs rife through the way we think about ourselves and others. I like to think that I am uniquely aware of this situation (funny about that) and can’t help but feel slightly superior to anyone who truly thinks they are the ONLY ONE that thinks, likes, or does anything in particular.

As I read the closing couple of pages of What Did I Do Wrong?, I saw a reply in my mind’s eye of the few times I’ve lamented my loneliness to my partner. “What is wrong with me?” I often ask rhetorically. “Why does everyone in my life decide they are better off without me? Why am I the only one without any real, lasting friendships?”

As heightened with emotion as those conversations were, I didn’t stop to chastise myself as I often do to others. I didn’t stop to tell myself, logically, of course you’re not the only one. Other people lose friends all of the time.

However, I honestly had never considered the sheer amount of female friendships that fade into oblivion with thousands of unanswered questions. I have had two big ‘B’ Best Friends in my life walk away from me without a word of explanation. Not a week goes by where I don’t think of either of them, even though I haven’t spoken to either one for 8 years and 6 years, respectively.

These experiences made What Did I Do Wrong? a really difficult read for me, but also a really important one. Interestingly, it never once answered the question of what I did wrong. Oftentimes no one ever did anything wrong. These things just happen. And after reading multiple stories about people on both sides of these “break ups”, it has become clear that more often than not, it is equally as painful for both parties.

I don’t feel better, necessarily, after reading this book, but I do feel justified in my pain, and that’s something I’ve never had before. ( )
  sixteendays | Jun 12, 2015 |
I needed this book and I really thought she had some great ideas with her stories from friends and family. This is a book worth reading. I received this copy from Free Press and I was not compensated for my review. ( )
  cenneidigh | May 27, 2011 |
Ever since I was "dumped" by my best friend over a year ago, I have been interested in the dynamics of women's friendships and how they end. This book was high on my to-read list and is a quick and easy read, but I found myself disappointed with it.

It was very difficult to relate to the author at all, who comes off as something of a snob. She felt the need to mention several times in the book that her husband is an actor, and she relates a story about how she read gossip about a former friend in a tabloid magazine (a situation with which most women probably can't identify). As I was reading the book, I felt as if she didn't have much to offer me that fit my own situation.

As far as advice, this book is remarkably short in that aspect. The only piece of advice that the author offers is to not avoid conflict (and therefore some sense of closure) when it comes to ending friendships. The author advocates that the person ending the friendship should communicate in a kind manner to the other person that the friendship is over. And that's really about it. Other than that, the book was mostly a collection of stories about friendships that ended in various different ways. There is remarkably little analysis of these stories and common themes or patterns in them.

Altogether, while I found the premise to be very interesting and warranting further study and discussion, I think that the book only offers an extremely shallow look at how women's friendships end. I recommend Irene S. Levine's "Best Friends Forever" instead, which offers much more analysis and practical advice. ( )
  schatzi | Oct 24, 2010 |
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I remember thinking how lucky I was to have found a friend like Maggie.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0743286316, Hardcover)

It happens without warning, and it hits you with devastating force. Your closest girlfriend, the Ethel to your Lucy, the Thelma to your Louise, cuts you off completely. No more late-night phone calls, no more afternoon e-mails, no more catch-up lunches and dinners. She has decided for whatever reason to move on with her life and has left you to figure it out on your own. The experience can be as painful and confusing as a sudden breakup with a significant other, and you replay scenes from the friendship and wonder what you did wrong.

Until now, women had to endure the heartache of losing a friend all alone, without the social support and understanding that accompanies, say, a romantic split-up -- and to make matters worse, they don't even have their best friend's shoulder to cry on. But "What Did I Do Wrong?" gives you that sympathetic shoulder and a resource -- and some answers -- that you can rely on. After author Liz Pryor had gone through a number of these breakups herself, she set out to discover why they were happening, how to help herself -- and others -- get through them...and how to prevent them from happening again.

Through personal interviews and her popular website, www.lizpryor.com, Pryor collected hundreds of stories of friendships with which you will identify. Now she draws on those stories to explore the dynamics of friendship breakups in a candid, intimate way, revealing the patterns, the warning signs, and some ways to put a friendship right or help it change to meet your or your friend's changing life. She also explains how to end a friendship -- if you find that you need to do so -- in ways that honor both parties' feelings and your history together.

Like the best kind of girlfriend -- one who really will stay friends forever -- Pryor blends plain, old-fashioned, feminine good sense and good humor with genuine empathy for the thousands of women who live with the confusion that lingers after an ended friendship -- for women of all ages, races, and backgrounds. "What Did I Do Wrong?" validates your feelings and inspires you to be more forthright and compassionate with new and old friends. It might even lead you to reconnect with a lost one. In the end, you will be moved and uplifted by the many stories of strong friendships, broken friendships, and renewed friendships that make this book a treasure of women's wisdom and experiences.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:05:24 -0400)

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It happens without warning, and it devastates you: your closest girlfriend cuts you off completely. She has decided for whatever reason to move on and has left you to try to make sense of what happened. The experience can be as painful as the death of a loved one and as confusing as an unexpected breakup with a significant other. This book gives voice to this painful, common, yet rarely discussed phenomenon and provides a resource that you can rely on. Relationship expert Liz Pryor has had a number of these breakups herself, so she set out to discover why they were happening. She collected hundreds of stories of friendships gone wrong, and draws on those stories to explore the dynamics of friendship breakups in a candid, intimate way, revealing the patterns, the warning signs, and some ways to put a friendship right or help it change so that it meets your friend's and your changing needs.--From publisher description.… (more)

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