Friendship Matters by Karen Riddell

In these unsettling COVID times when many of us feel lonely and isolated, Karen Riddell’s book Friendship Matters  is poignant and timely.  It is a well researched and fun book to read.  The book takes a hard look at women’s friendships and the skills, and planning of these relationships.  By demystifying the elements of friendships, the book provides a workbook style format that acts as a “ friendship roadmap” for cultivating and maintaining close relationships.

The early part of the book cites the  many amazing health benefits linked to women in supportive relationships with other women.   According to the studies, women increase endorphin and serotonin levels when they are in community with each other.   Laughing, crying, sharing, dancing, smiling, hugging, listening, caring all come together to make women happier and more content.   Evidence concludes that lasting friendships are life-prolonging, too.

The author interviews hundreds of women about their friendships.  Each chapter weaves an example of someone’s story.  Her research shines the light on reasons many women struggle with friendships: lack of time, rejection, shyness, acceptance, and underestimating the intrinsic benefits of friendship.  Chapters outline different personality types and the roadblocks that they might encounter while trying to make new friends.   She encourages positivity throughout the process of acquiring new friends while recognizing that good friends are not hard to find, but do require time, energy, and a solid plan.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book.  It is enlightening, uplifting and encouraging. The real life stories are relatable and engaging for any reader.  Although it’s beneficial for any age, I believe it is particularly relevant for young women who are beginning careers and/or moving to new places.  The friendship roadmap that is outlined is very practical and can yield results that can be life-changing and life-giving because friendships really do matter!  The book would be very useful in a group study, too, because it has thought-provoking questions that create an opportunity for sharing.

Kudos to Karen Riddell for tackling and celebrating women’s invaluable connections with other women.

Book Review by Lauren Monroe