Member Reviews

I think that the first Covid lockdown back in 2020 gave many of us a chance to look at our lives afresh. With having to form social bubbles it became clear who our nearest connections were. I became aware of things about my social life that I hadn’t been aware of. For example, most of my social interaction outside my household took place at work. I’d meet with friends at lunchtime and chat with colleagues, only meeting with friends outside worktimes periodically. Over the years of home-making and having children, my social life had dwindled; the friendships that I couldn’t cultivate at work had dropped off one by one and I hadn’t even realised, because I was either busy or tired out. Without daily interaction at work, and not being in the habit of contacting friends regularly outside work I began to feel really lonely and over time this was something I wanted to address which is why I read this book.

Friendship in the Age of Loneliness starts out with the pandemic, and I thought it might be the book that I was looking for. One of the things the book looks at is social media. This gives us the illusion of being connected but it’s something that is really only on a superficial level, and to really feel connected you need to go deeper. I think this is a very true statement, but the question is, how?

The author goes through a lot of examples on this, but I felt that very little of the advice given I could relate to. The ideas would work best for extroverted people, preferably living in San Francisco, with a lot of existing connections, money, spare time, and without children who they also need to make time for or childcare concerns. I felt that many of the ideas would be incredibly uncomfortable for somebody introverted, or somebody who hadn’t reached out in a long time and might feel nervous. The assumption seems to be that you are extroverted and confident, which presumably is the type of person who wouldn’t need to read a book like this!

There were some things which I felt were useful takeaways though, which is that it’s important to reach out, even if you feel it’s been a long time. You need to invest time into relationships for them to be strengthened. It can help to have rituals, to block out regular time for your friendships to keep nurturing them. That it’s important to have friendships with people who are not like you, to learn more and understand better. So although the book didn’t help me on a practical level, I found it interesting on a conceptual level and would rate it as a 3 star read.

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This was a very interesting and timely read. I have always been introverted, with COVID I felt "too" introverted, and coming out of it felt even weirder. How do I communicate and have a casual conversation? I found myself mostly observing the conversation and not engaging very much. This book was very interesting in overcoming some of those challenges and techniques to feel more connected.

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This book is written in a conversational style full of playful concepts and ideas on creating and keeping friends. Well worth reading. Light and optimistic. Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC.

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Overall I enjoyed this book. The author shared some interesting facts and tips for friendship. I did feel it was a little all over the place with the different stories with so many different people.

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Survey after survey, both research and reports have pointed to a growing problem in our society. People are increasingly lonely. With the pandemic, things are not going to get any better. In fact, loneliness has accelerated because of the many lockdowns implemented by governments around the world. Many researchers have pointed out social media as a negative influence when it comes to addressing loneliness. While it is true that social media could have adverse effects on people, especially those with prolonged usage, leading to addiction, technology can still be useful to help people build friendship networks to connect with people. The key is proper usage instead of total abandonment. Author Adam Poswolsky takes this approach and goes further. He argues that the two keys for a happier life are to make new friends and to deepen existing ones. When our efforts to reach out are reciprocated, the relationship grows. In this book, he gives readers six ways to reclaim friendships in an age of loneliness:

1) Be More Playful
2) Be a Better Friend
3) Invest in Friendship
4) Stay in Touch
5) Embrace Ritual
6) Be a Minister for Loneliness in the community

In each of these steps, Poswolsky gives several specific applications to help us build friendship maps; be a better friend ourselves; invest time and resources to build networks; keep in touch intentionally; maintain a variety of activities that are regular even though they seem routine; and be a channel for change. These and a lot more examples should spark our interest and enthusiasm toward becoming a positive change in society.

As the saying goes, no man is an island. Poswolsky knows this not merely for a fact but for real as well. He writes, "Friendship sustains us through the most trying of times." Since the beginning of the pandemic, as the world gets locked down, the loneliness that is felt throughout the world, especially in the Western hemisphere has become more acute than before. Amid the devastating effects of lockdowns caused by the pandemic, author Adam Smiley Poswolsky gives us many reasons for optimism. Using technology like Zoom, one can keep in touch with friends even when in isolation. There is no need to travel long distances just to see one another. We could also connect without having to step out of our doors. Office work can be done from home, without having to deal with traffic congestion. Yet, to depend on technology and social media alone will not cut it. Poswolsky shows us alternatives every step of the world, choosing not to quit social media totally, but to persuade all to consider these alternatives creatively.

My Thoughts
The problem of loneliness is not new. The Bible has already mentioned that. In Genesis 2:18, we read how "The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him." Whether one sees this verse as the reason for marriage, whether the word "helper" is too derogatory for women, or whether this verse is too focused on the need of Adam, it is important to take a step back to reflect on the character of God. Perhaps, the Creator of the world knew right from the very start that the human being is a social creature. Humans cannot function alone. Humans are essentially in need of companionship. Humans are created to interact, fellowship, and live in a community. What if this verse in Genesis is applied more inclusively to include every person in the human race? Not everyone is going to get married. Not everybody can find a "suitable helper." Not every person is going to live happily ever after in some sort of one-to-one relationship. What if Gen 2:18 is a revelation of the natural tendency of a person to be lonely, and a magnifying glass to the need of human beings to live in a community?

Poswolsky has given us a wonderful resource for addressing loneliness. His key point is about reclaiming friendships in an increasingly lonely world. Why is it so challenging to make friends nowadays? This is interesting because many people would agree that family and friends rank high in their list of priorities. Yet, on closer examination, they put themselves and their own individual needs above these claims. This reveals the natural hypocrisy in many of us. We need to change that and this book provides us a way to think outside ourselves, to live beyond ourselves, and to learn to initiate care and friendliness. That way, we can change the world and not wait for things to happen before even trying. Filled with lots of ready-to-use ideas and examples, readers can pick up this book quickly and start reclaiming friendships.

Adam Smiley Poswolsky is a graduate of Wesleyan University. He is a popular keynote speaker, workplace belonging expert, and bestselling author of The Quarter-Life Breakthrough (Penguin Random House) and The Breakthrough Speaker.

Rating: 4 stars of 5.

conrade
This book has been provided courtesy of Running Press (Imprint of Perseus Books, a subsidiary of Hachette Book Group) via NetGalley without requiring a positive review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

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Beautiful concept of the book. People are surrounded by many friends these days yet are lonely. Briefly elaborated with all the perfect examples around. Thank you, NetGalley and the Author and publishers of the book for providing an e-book copy of the book.

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FRIENDSHIP IN THE AGE OF LONELINESS by Adam Smiley Poswolsky is described as "An Optimist's Guide to Connection" and it seemed appropriate to consider given the upcoming return to school and many attempts to strengthen connections and community. Poswolsky, a motivational speaker on the millennial workplace, shares insights about friendship rituals, developing inter-generational friends, and basically just reaching out. In fact, the various sections of his text summarize his main points: be more playful; be a better friend (less judgmental and more accepting); invest in friendship (e.g., go deep rather than wide); stay in touch; embrace ritual; and be a minister for loneliness in your community. All of this seems particularly poignant given concerns about teens and smartphones such as those described in this Guardian article (and mentioned in previous posts). Poswolsky provides links to book discussion questions, to a ritual library (filled with ideas for meet-ups and contacts), and to a complete resources guide; I wonder if he will consider adding some teen specific ideas in the future? As writers like Lisa Damour or those at New Harbinger point out, teens are in a unique place and will need our support more than ever.

Links in live post:
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/feb/07/we-gave-teenagers-smartphones-did-we-rob-them-of-an-inner-life
https://static1.squarespace.com/static/54d13582e4b0cdda72cfe391/t/6090321fe3a60b75b2dad27a/1620062752126/Friendship+in+the+Age+of+Loneliness_Book+Discussion+Questions_Smiley_+5.2021.pdf
https://smileyposwolsky.com/friendship-rituals
https://smileyposwolsky.com/friendship-resources
https://www.newharbinger.com/blog/self-help/how-can-teens-take-care-of-themselves-during-the-pandemic/

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As someone who struggles with connecting with others but deeply craves to do so, this book is a godsend. The author outlines specific ways to engage with your friends and enhance our relationships. I LOVE everything about this book. This is definitely what I want when I look for self-help books!

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What an absolute delightful book! I love that the author writes in a style that is easy to understand and enjoyed the section that covered emotional fitness. I'm looking forward to using some of the ideas from the book in my every day life and I plan on buying a copy soon to put on my keeper shelf! Love it!

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I am very interested in the subject of friendship in this day and age, but this book sadly just wasn't for me. I expected that it will have a different approach to the subject, but instead it read kind of like a business book. And I really don't like the idea of treating friendship like some sort of a business.
I liked the bite-sized chapters as they helped me to read the book faster than anticipated and made it a bit more accessible than it would have been otherwise. But I really disliked how the book was actually written - everything was explained almost exclusively through author's personal experience, or experience of his friends or acquaintances. It came too close to some sort or autobiography/biography for my taste. And there were way too many times where I felt the author was just marketing those other people's businesses.
The book offered a few interesting ideas to implement in your life, but majority of ideas were quite unrealistic, especially for introverted people or people with social anxiety. Nonetheless it was a nice reality check and a reminder to connect with your friends more and be open to making new connections with people.

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I was drawn to this one particularly because I felt like the pandemic really changed a lot of friendships and made a lot of people re-analyze their life. I like that the author also added parts of the pandemic into the story because I think it will be interesting to see friendships (both of the young and older) and how they change after we are allowed to start going out and being more social again.

This book was fascinating and I enjoyed the insight the author provided for living in the now and for enhancing shallow friendships in to more. But I didn't necessarily find much that I will be able to implement into my life necessarily. I can definitely see how there are many it will be insightful for and I'm really glad I gave it a try.

<i>A huge thank you to the author and publisher for providing an e-ARC via Netgalley. This does not affect my opinion regarding the book.</i>

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I was drawn to this book for its context. Many people have problems with making friends or holding friends, even more so since the pandemic. I wanted to see what the author had to say and what could be done about making friends during a very isolating and lonely time.

The book dives into many great ideas and suggestions that people can do to be closer and make more time for people they care about. Build routines, check ins, vacations, write letters, reach out, make time, mental associations, and of course spending uninterrupted time with each other, these are just some of the suggestions listed in the book.

One thing it was missing was what to do if you had anxiety around doing these things, how hard it could be to put these ideas into place, what if you didn’t have people to reach out to and could muster up the ability (or funds) to go to conventions and festivals. So it felt limiting in that sense.

While reading this book, the way the author speaks about the way they interacted with people and the mind set behind it reminded me very much of mine when I did mind altering/ mind expanding substances. The whole time reading I was thinking “this person must be on ecstasy”. And trust me it is a whole lot easier to be open, loving, and close to people when on such substances. No judgement what so ever, it is just interesting, I think the concept of this book and the connection it speaks about might have been made due to mind expanding drugs (Just an observation).

Again, the book has great suggestions on things to do with friends and how to let them know you care about them, but a big part of the book felt like a marketing book for the authors friends and the businesses they run. They are great companies and have made big differences in the world, just had a sale pitch overtone to it.

If you struggle with keeping friends or holding meaningful relationships, give this a chance.

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This book was really interesting and made me think about friendships – now and in the past.

Thank you NetGalley for my complimentary copy in return for my honest review.

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at lunch just doesn’t guarantee me the same life long bond it once did. And after a year of not seeing friends the idea of maintaining relationships and making new friends is extra daunting. This is why the tips in Smiley’s books (which serves as a very helpful friendship Instruction manual for grown ups) are so helpful. I especially valued the chapters that are short, sweet, and direct like the Emotional Bandwidth Checkin. I’m a bit biased knowing a lot of these people mentioned personally but even if I didn’t the advice is universal and easy to implement. I loved the Friendship Map and Friendship Circle prompts and though I didn’t stop to do them yet I will soon. As soon as I closed this book I wanted to hop on a plane and see all my friends. Until I can I’ll send them mail and call them, just because.

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As the mother of two Millennials and a Gen Z, I am thrilled that there is now a practical guide for their generation on cultivating and maintain meaningful relationships.

"It's so hard to find new friends!" A standard-compliant I often hear from people of ALL ages, and social isolating during COVID has not helped. Friendship in the Age of Loneliness is a much-needed book for today because finding human connection, friendship, and belonging in the digital age can be difficult. Each chapter provides insights into what it looks like to create meaningful connections, whether with old friends or new ones. Every chapter has a practical takeaway for going deeper in relationships by drawing from field experts, researchers, community leaders, psychologists, and many of Adam Smiley's actual friends. They share how they foster connection and belonging to maintain their relationships with friends, whether in person or online.

The short chapters are inviting, practical, and easily digestible. It will be a book that I happily recommend and keep on hand to give away as a gift. I am so grateful Adam took the time to be a voice to his generation and those younger.

Cherie Werner
Chief Kindness Officer/ co-Founder KOYA

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In this non-fiction book, the author pulls together several ideas and concepts on how to find friendship as an adult. I absolutely was drawn to this because this is the secret sauce! It is so hard to find and connect with people post-college and outside of work. I was looking for tips that I could use and implement. I did find some of these but often the author used examples of specific programs or events a friend of theirs runs. Usually this would be in a large city, such as San Francisco, and wasn't easy to replicate if you lived not in San Fran. I enjoyed the short chapters with idea summaries. I did not enjoy continual plugging for businesses of friends of the authors. I'm an extrovert and honestly found many of the suggestions exhausting to even contemplate. There was a NY Times article about making friends as an adult that I prefer.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher, Perseus Books, Running Press, for providing me with an eARC in exchange for my honest review.

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I found Friendship in the Age of Loneliness, the absolute perfect read for quarantine. The book touched so much on how we have all changed and changed our way of cultivating friendships, what that looked like in the past and what it looks like in the future. I would recommend this to anyone feeling lost, in a life stage or frustrated with the way the world is operating today.

I just reviewed Friendship in the Age of Loneliness by Adam Smiley Poswolsky. #FriendshipintheAgeofLoneliness #NetGalley

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upon reading this mind-opening and such calming book that dives through the social calamity we are facing nowadays, apart from its modern touch of worldly issue "Friendship in the Age of Loneliness" speaks at our thriving hearts, giving answers to our never ending questions about how we can survive in the great alone.

i love the idea of this, the message it brings, and the cleansing it does to our souls making it so much lighter and free from the burdens of loneliness. its true they say that true friends are never apart, maybe in distance but never in heart. 4 stars!

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Adam "Smiley" Poswolsky wants to help people find meaningful friendships. He acknowledges the modern barriers to "going deep" with people once we're into adulthood and the endemic loneliness that knows no generation barrier. In this book Smiley has assembled a collection of resources and ideas for finding friends - real time, in-person friends. The bulk of the suggestions center on how to put oneself in a space to meet potential friends (and what venues to avoid) though there some activities and suggestions more focused on how to deepen and develop relationships beyond the initial meeting.

Though he's made a clear effort to be inclusive and write for a broad audience (and deserves credit for that), a significant portion of the book is addressing his generation and what he sees as its problematic starting point, specifically that people have hundreds of social media friends and that from this overwhelmingly large group of contacts, one needs to figure out how to develop deep, real-time relationships. There are fewer suggestions for people who may not be as plugged into social media. Indeed, for almost all of the resources and activities he suggests, the first contact is going to be an online exchange of information though the stress is in moving beyond that.

Helpfully, Smiley has been able to address the current isolation imposed by the pandemic and speak to the stresses and some solutions offered for "covid-induced" loneliness.

As someone who's repeatedly tested as an extreme introvert on the Myers-Briggs scale, I found myself feeling overwhelmed just reading all the suggestions for connecting. It helped to set the book aside and read 1-2 of the short chapters at a time rather than consuming the book in large gulps. I took note of activities and suggestions that sounded appealing to me. Though I don't yearn for a wide social group, I could do with a couple closer relationships than I have. Having transitioned from an intense, all consuming job to one with more lifestyle balance, I've found myself at a loss on how to re-enter and reconnect outside of a professional environment.

I'm looking forward to trying some of the suggestions in this book. Thanks to Smiley for a sincere effort at building bridges and to #NetGalley for the free electronic copy of the book.

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This is such a refreshing book. The author explores what it means to be "present" in this new age or technology, social media of 5k+ friends and having to make appointments to even get on a quick call with a friend! Each chapter offers different ideas and ways to learn and understand yourselves and those around you without the use of social media. It truly questions your habits in life and how you can improve them. It is written well and very quick to read. You can definitely open it up randomly and start anywhere! I think it is a book to gift to your friends as well or someone that you know who might need a push to realize their true potential. Definitely a light breezy and useful read!

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