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The Friendship Cure by Kate Leaver

Writing.ie | Book Reviews | Non Fiction

By Swirl and Thread

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‘A manifesto for reconnecting in the modern world.’

The Friendship Cure is an exploration and a study of modern friendship by journalist Kate Leaver. Frustrated with the direction society has taken, with loneliness, stress, mental health issues and other illnesses on the increase, Kate Leaver decided to carry out some research with some rather shocking results.

Kate Leaver has suffered from depression on and off from a young age and always maintains her strong friendships have helped her and carried her through these difficult patches in her life. In The Friendship Cure, Kate delves deeper into our society speaking with experts in their respective fields, but also with people like you and me..

Fascinating reading, The Friendship Cure is published by Duckworth Overlook.

Recently I have started reading manifestos/memoirs. Each book that I have read has surprised me with the amount of research, the facts presented and the enthusiasm of the author for the topic they are presenting to us.

The Friendship Cure is a book I found particularly intriguing, which was obvious to anyone, as I carried it around with little sticky post-its marking every second page. Kate Leaver is a journalist writing for some very established and well known magazines and newspapers. Her experiences of friendship in the work environment and outside encouraged her to take a closer look at what it means to have a ‘real’ friend v the ‘toxic’ friend, how not having a close friend can damage your health, both now and in the future. She also studies male friendships, the bromance as we now refer to it.

Divided into twelve chapters Kate Leaver looks at:

What is friendship?

We are social animals

Squad goals and girlfriends

Bromance and guy love

Can men and women ever just be mates

Work wives and 9-5 husbands

Friend requests and liking people online

Friendship break-ups

The loneliness epidemic

Misery needs company

Friends with health benefits

Happily ever after

Each chapter goes into in-depth facts and figures, quoting studies and research undertaken across the globe, but Kate also brings her own personal research into her words. Using social media, Kate sent out tweets to anyone who could hear, with a shout-out for a specific topic. She was completely overwhelmed with the response and the willingness of people to share their story with her and ultimately with us.

I think for me the chapter that resonated most was the chapter on loneliness. ‘Loneliness is one of the most frightening certainties of the human experience. Very few people are immune, and those who claim never to have experienced it are most likely unwilling or unsure how to identify it’

There is something very, very sad about this statement. In a world where technology has made it possible to talk to friends at any time, no matter where in the world they may be, there are numerous individuals out there today who, for many reasons, are suffering from extreme loneliness. As we all know being alone and being lonely are two very different things. We might choose to be alone, but no-one really ever chooses to be lonely. Loneliness increases our chances of health issues in later years. Studies have shown an increase in dementia among folk who have no social circle, particularly the elderly in society. For many, this sense of complete loneliness is in the aftermath of a death of a spouse. ‘Becoming a widow is an experience of acute, excruciating loneliness. The person you’d chosen to accompany you through life is gone…..a deep sense of emotional isolation that sets in and never gives up on you’

Grief is just one example, but there are many other reasons for the onset of loneliness that impacts all generations, from the pre-schooler to the retired, from the stay-at-home mother/father to the person working in a very busy environment. We are all susceptible.

Kate Leaver touches on so many aspects of our lives today and how many of us are suffering in silence. She is passionate about how strengthening our friendships can help us find balance and peace. She is a true believer in the power of the internet, in it’s ability to bring people together. She is an advocate for clinging tightly to those friends who rise you up and removing those toxic friends who drag you down.

The Friendship Cure is packed full with very attainable goals for all of us, from our political leaders and policy makers, to the teenager who is just discovering who they really are and who they want to be. With Kate Leaver’s own personal stories mixed throughout and her own personal take on situations, The Friendship Cure has something for everyone.

The Friendship Cure is a book you dip in and out of, taking little bits away with you to consider and reflect upon. It is a manifesto, a declaration of ideas, an opportunity for us all to take back control of our relationships with our friends, our health and ultimately our happiness.

When I received my review copy I was struck by Kate’s three simple tips for lasting friendship so I’m going to leave them here for you to consider and I hope act on….

Make more time for the people who lift you up and less time for the ones who drag you down.

Stop performing and just be YOU with your friends – imperfections, silliness and all.

Pick up your phone and text someone you haven’t spoken to in a while, just so they know you’re thinking of them.

(c) Swirl and Thread

Order your copy online here.

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