Books to Read: Friendaholic: Confession of a Friendship Addict by Elizabeth Day
At a time when we have so much ‘connection’ to so many, when the boundaries between stranger, follower and friend are barely distinguishable and accruing acquaintances is deemed an achievement, the boundary of friendship is now so blurred that the cycle of relationships have largely come to mirror addiction patterns.
Enter ‘Friendaholic: Confession of a Friendship Addict’ the new book by award winning journalist, broadcaster, Elizabeth Day who was largely inspired to write this assessment of friendship, having come through the turmoil of pandemic, and noticing the shift in her friendship dynamics during the lockdown period.
Friendaholic: Confession of a Friendship Addict tells the story of one woman’s journey to understand why she’s addicted to friendship. Aiming to cast new light on the subject of friendship, in all its multi-dimensional complexities, Day explores existential questions derived from childhood conditioning around friends, ‘quantity equals quality,’ the boundaries around what it means to be a ‘good friend,’ and does the amount of time spent with people make them your ‘truest friends?’
Segueing from societal conditioning from childhood through womanhood, where so many us of cling to friendships as some kind of proof that we are loveable, doing-good women, Day reassuringly navigates the reader through the battleground of modern-day friendship, and refreshingly isn’t afraid to shy away from the gritty stuff that has arisen from the quagmire of social media: I was drawn to the book on hearing Day’s story of being ‘ghosted’ by someone she considered one of her closest friends without any logical reason or explanation. Day guides the reader through the addiction like spiral of emotion that results from this type of friendship loss – ‘ghosting’ a new term arisen from the digital era – a path that takes her through episodes of panic, grief, and fear.
Amongst the emotional, psychological analysis behind friendship, ‘Friendaholic’ is sprinkled with science led research: apparently having four to five friends is ideal, having over seven means you will be suffering from exhaustion, and studies also show that we should replace half of our friends every seven years.
Infact, little about the art of friendship isn’t explored in this jam packed novella, from the significance of friendship to the meaning of a frenemy and disentangling our friends from the impact of seismic life events, as you keep turning the page, Friendaholic: Confession of a Friendship Addict will leave you wondering how you had never pondered friendship in such detail before, and even why there isn’t a language that can express its fundamental value to each and every one of us in the world.
But perhaps the best reason to pick up a copy of Friendaholic: Confession of a Friendship Addict is as a support manual that reminds you that you are not alone in experiencing highs, lows and everything between with friendships – perhaps even one day there will be therapy circles to support ‘friendaholics’ but for now this book is a good place to start.