Tuesday, May 24, 2011

50 Books in a Year: #24 What Did I Do Wrong?: What to Do When You Don't Know Why the Friendship Is Over

          I am a person who breaks-up with friends. I am more than willing to admit it. I’m not very good at keeping in touch with friends once they are out of my sphere, although I do miss them. I don’t tell them what’s going on in my life, you’re better at learning about me from Facebook or this blog than getting me to call you or write a letter. I am also more than willing to admit that I was hoping that Liz Pryor’s book What Did I Do Wrong? What to Do when You Don’t Know Why the Friendship Over (from Free Press) would make me feel guilty and repentant. I realized after reading the book, I am nothing like the evil women who have left unendings, I, no matter how much it has hurt me and the other person, have confronted the ending and lived with the consequences. I have no need to feel the guilt and repent like some of the women should feel.
         The beginning of this book is foolishly deceptive, as in it seems like it’s going to be the “Cosmopolitan magazine” approach to friendships, I felt there was nothing there for me to learn. However, Liz Pryor does well to ease the reluctant reader in and then teach us (and, by us I mean women) how we hurt ourselves and each other when we just brush off our friendships.
         She takes us through each step of a friendship break-up, how to do it responsibly and how to heal after a friend has given you the cold shoulder and has stopped answering your phone calls.
         Frankly, it wasn’t until I read this book that I began to understand that women do to other women what they WOULD NEVER want done to themselves. One story really resonated with me, because it is the kind of behavior that you see only in 8th Grade girls, it’s the story of Jessica.

The Story of Jessica, a Preview
     "About a year after the icing, before their house had sold, one of the four neighbors finally contacted Jessica. She called late one night and said, "I just want you to know that what's happened with you was not my doing. I know what good people you are, and i'm sorry that this has happened." But before Jessica could say anything, her former friend hung up.
      A couple of days later, Jessica received a phone call from her former preschool teacher, who said she wanted to tell Jess everything she'd heard about Jessica's family. She felt it was the right thing to do. Jess sat and listened...in horror."

          I am amazed that there are women out there who treat their friends like children and don't give them the respect that they, as adults, deserve.
          I thank Liz Pryor for writing this insightful book about an epidemic that women seem too ashamed to talk about. I hope that Pryor's experiences as well as the experiences of the brave women in her book will help others to not only open up, but understand that sometimes friendships end...be brave enough to end them correctly.

The message is powerful, but the conduit is a little simplistic.


  1. I teach seven and eight year olds and after practically every break time, I'm dealing with girls that can't manage their friendships. It gets frustrating at times. In my class they are very possessive and can't accept their 'best friend' spending time with anyone else.

    Maybe I should recommend this book :P

  2. definitely!:D
    there's a book that pryor talks about that i own called _queen bees and wannabes_ that addresses girls growing up with girls. i haven't read it yet, but my friend says she wishes her mother would have had it while my friend was getting picked on growing up!



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