Big Friendship: How We Keep Each Other Close

Friendship is a vital force in nearly every life: studies show that people with strong friendships enjoy better mental health and live longer. But nurturing friendships can take a backseat to tending other relationships, such as marriage and parent-child bonds. In their first nonfiction book, Big Friendship, podcasters Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman unfold the story of their life-altering friendship and make a powerful case for investing in friendships long-term.

Sow and Friedman begin by sharing how they met as 20-somethings in Washington, D.C., and quickly became "obsessed" with one another. Over the next several years, they became each other's first call when weighing a big decision--even when Friedman moved back to the West Coast. But despite their history and mutual deep trust, they have sometimes struggled to stay truly close.

Big Friendship delves into the challenges of long-term friendships: shifting priorities, moving to different cities, health problems, professional struggles and the dynamics of interracial friendship. Sow and Friedman speak candidly about the ways friendship can demand a lot of (or "stretch") its participants, the times when communication falters or breaks down altogether, the loneliness of feeling isolated from a dear friend. They also explain their concept of Shine Theory: cultivating genuine investment in one's friends. Listeners of the "Call Your Girlfriend" podcast, which Sow and Friedman have hosted since 2014, will recognize Shine Theory, as well as the authors' sharp, insightful conversational style. Big Friendship is a nuanced, heartfelt and thought-provoking celebration of the people who prove essential to our lives. --Katie Noah Gibson, blogger at Cakes, Tea and Dreams

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