friendship books

8 must-read books on building and maintaining friendships

Friendship is a relationship that may not be talked about often but holds an important place in our lives.

Picture this. You are struggling to gather your thoughts after an intense conversation with your spouse. You are angry and sad at the same time. The only way to find calm is to let go of the emotions building up inside you. So what do you do? You pick up your phone, call your friend and talk to him or her about it. Your childhood buddy listens to you calmly and offers their honest opinion.

Now, you may not like what they said but talking makes you feel better as if a load is lifted from your shoulders. This is the power of friendship. It is a relationship that may not be talked about often but holds an important place in our lives. Knowing you always have someone by your side who can keep you calm even in the toughest of times.

Unfortunately, many of us can’t boast of such great friendships. Why? Because we find it hard to meet and develop a friendship, mostly because we lack the necessary social skills or no longer have the desire to meet people as we did in college or school. This often leaves us alone, longing for friendship.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. There are books about friendships that explain how to build and nurture relationships. All you have to do is read them and then imbibe some of the taught values.

To make your search easier, we have compiled a list of eight books on building and maintaining friendships, so let’s dive in!

The Art of Showing Up: How to Be There for Yourself and Your People by Rachel Wilkerson Miller

Do you have trouble connecting with those around you? Think twice before meeting new people? Many people go through the same struggle. It’s especially not easy to make friends when you are an adult. In this book, author Rachel Wilkerson Miller suggests a more thoughtful and fulfilling approach to cultivating and maintaining relationships in life. All they have to do is show up when others need them. Miller writes, “Showing up is what turns people you know into your people. It’s at the core of creating and maintaining strong, meaningful bonds with friends, family, co-workers and even internet pals.”

Belong: Find Your People, Create Community, and Live a More Connected Life by Radha Agarwal

It is said no man is an island. We cannot survive without connection and need someone to make us whole. There is an underlying urge to become part of a community. But despite the advancement in technology that connects us to thousands of people, we feel more isolated than ever. In this book, author Radha Agarwal shares a two-step process of finding meaningful connections. Readers will learn how to feel connected by finding people like themselves. Agarwal writes, “We are born in the community—fully connected to another human. Without connection, we cannot survive. It’s in our DNA to belong.” And her book will show you the way.

Stop Being Lonely: Three Simple Steps to Developing Close Friendships and Deep Relationships by Kira Asatryan

Interestingly, loneliness has nothing to do with being alone. One can be lonely even in a crowd, real or virtual. But there is a way to avoid this feeling, and it is through cultivating another feeling, that of closeness. In this book, author Kira Asatryan talks about how one can cultivate closeness in a relationship. Asatryan writes, “Closeness is a fundamental yet little understood aspect of relationship health. It is instrumental in making a relationship feel satisfying and secure.” She shares steps such as knowing, caring and mastering closeness, which can help people bridge gaps and form new relationships.

Conversationally Speaking: Tested New Ways to Increase Your Personal and Social Effectiveness by Alan Garner

Conversations are essential to our daily lives but how to leave a lasting impression? It is a question that most of us ponder, especially while chatting with a stranger or pursuing a love interest. This book by Alan Garner, which has sold over a million copies, attempts to answer that question. It suggests techniques that can help improve your communication skills. Readers will learn how to ask questions that promote conversation, interest people in what they have to say, handle criticism constructively and listen so others will be encouraged to talk to them. If properly imbibed, the lessons of this book will help people build and maintain their friendships.

The Fine Art of Small Talk: How to Start a Conversation, Keep It Going, Build Networking Skills and Leave a Positive Impression! by Debra Fine

Do you feel nervous while talking to someone? They can be anyone, from strangers, colleagues to your friends. Does the thought of striking up small chitchat make your stomach do flip-flops? If so, then it’s time you mastered the art of small talk. Author and communication expert Debra Fine shares useful techniques in this book that can help deal with anxious feelings. After reading and implementing the given suggestions in your life, you’ll learn to feel comfortable in any social situation. Small talk will no longer be a big problem.

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

Written by Dale Carnegie, this bestseller can help anyone looking to improve their lives, both personally and professionally. According to Goodreads, since its release in 1936, it has sold more than 15 million copies. Reading this book will teach you to make friends easily and quickly, increase your influence and make you a better conservationist. All you have to do is implement the advice mentioned in it. Carnegie writes, “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.” Now that’s some amazing insight already!

Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know About the People We Don’t Know by Malcolm Gladwell

Does meeting new people make you feel awkward? Do you find it difficult to reconnect with the ones you lost touch with after leaving school or college? If so, you need to understand that it happens because you make assumptions. In this book, author Malcolm Gladwell argues that baseless assumptions are why people misinterpret each other. Everyone’s behaviour is tied to circumstances you don’t know about. Gladwell uses compelling real-world examples to show how and why your interactions with strangers often go wrong. This book is all about improving connections.

Messy Beautiful Friendship: Finding and Nurturing Deep and Lasting Relationships by Christine Hoover

It is seen that many women wrestle with the complexities of adult friendship. They experience years of friendship drought and conflicts in relationships, some unfortunately of their own making. To keep themselves safe from hurt or harsh realities, they create a cocoon for themselves in the false security of isolation. In her book, author Christine Hoover offers a fresh, biblical understanding of friendship. Reading this book will teach you how to make and deepen friendships, overcome insecurity, self-isolation and consequently, learn the art of embracing people.


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