Toxic Friends: The Antidote for Women Stuck in Complicated Relationships
By Susan Shapiro Barash (St. Martin’s Press; 2009.)
From childhood to the golden years, friendship is both one of the most important and the most complicated aspects of a woman’s life. What is it that makes female friendship so complex, so rewarding, and yet also so often a source of pain?
In Toxic Friends, Barash profiles 10 different types of female friends: The Leader; The Doormat; The Sacrificer; The Misery Lover; The Frenemy; and 5 others (which you’ll have to read the book to discover!).
Personally, I was shocked to realize that I could finally verbalize the actions of certain friends in the past – it wasn’t just me, and it wasn’t just them. They were acting in ways that were typical of certain types of women, and Barash’s categories actually helped me to understand them better. If I ever reconnect with those women – doubtful, but you never know – I believe that I’ll be better prepared to communicate with and relate to them than I was in the past.
Above all, I think this book will help to identify those types of women if they appear in my life in the future. That doesn’t mean I’ll be psychoanalyzing every person I meet… rather, it means that I’ll have a better awareness of my relationship to certain people (for example, which women to politely and gently excuse myself from spending time with). That’s something I honestly can say I wish I knew a long time ago… I could have avoided a lot of heartache that way, and I suspect the majority of women would feel the same way about some of their own friendships/ex-friendships.
I highly recommend Barash’s book to women with friends. Yes, that’s a broad recommendation – but I honestly believe the book is helpful, not just in terms of understanding and identifying the friendships you have, but also in gaining insight into the kind of friend you are to other people.
(This book was graciously provided for review by St. Martin’s Press.)