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Adam Smiley Poswolsky is a millennial career expert who has inspired thousands of young professionals and entrepreneurs to find fulfilling work. An internationally renowned motivational speaker, Smiley speaks at Fortune 500 companies, TEDx events, business conferences, leadership development vis mere programs, colleges, and graduate schools. His writing has been published in The Washington Post, Fast Company, and GOOD, among others. He can often be found dancing in San Francisco, California. vis mindre

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For most of my twenties, my vocation was Good Friend. A few years into this work, circa 2014, I came across "Get Lifeboat" of Tim Walker and Alia McKee, which Poswolksy cites. Poswolsky is part of my extended network, which means many of anecdotes are stories from my friends, which was fun.

This book is approachable. It feels like, and seems like it was, a pandemic project; it won't be a revolutionary additional to the literature on friendship, but it might give you that little kick you need right now to reinvigorate your relationship.

In some ways, it is challenging to write or talk about friendship, as it is so fundamental to being human. While reading this book, I was asking myself in the back of my mind, "what is friendship for?" I can't say I found this to be a particularly useful question, but with a bit more context, it might inspire useful inquiry. It's a kin to the question, "what gives life meaning?"

Reading is a little like a guided tour through the landscape of our mind, emotions, and memories. In reading a book on friendship, I found myself thinking back to moments I hadn't considered in many years. Poswolsky speaks about the ways that friends are reflections of facets of ourselves. I have an especially broad range of friends, and this means that I get to explore a lot of different facets of myself.

Poswolsky points out that celebrity and friendship are inversely correlated—famous people have the fewest number of friends, and the friends of the lowest quality. I've had to navigate this in my own life; friends of mine with more clout are both more challenging to be good friends to, and simultaneously often seem to need my friendship more (which can be a somewhat exhausting yet rewarding scenario).

There's emphasis in the book placed on the importance of not counting every dollar in a friendship (something that Poswolsky used to do). I'd take this a step further and reference the ethos of David Graeber to say that if someone is your friend, you make them a gift rather than lend them money.

I recall a conversation I had with my dad maybe eight years ago now, where I was describing to him the frustration that I was having in investing more energy into a friendship than I perceived to be receiving in return; there wasn't reciprocity. He asked my, "why do you assume reciprocity?" or something along those lines. In other words, if we care about someone, we're willing to put in more than half (it also happens that psychologists have noticed that we necessarily weight that which we attend to more than that which we don't; so two friends could very much feel they're each putting in more than 50%...). Poswolsky mentions that we should be wary of friendships that are too unequal, and I'd agree that there is a threshold beyond which a relationship can become abusive. At the same time, if I avoided inequality in my relationship, I would need to get rid of probably four fifths of my friendships (which I'm not about to do).

This book talks excessively about human friendship. I'd love to see more about friendship with non-human beings (plants, animals, landscapes, etc.).

In conclusion, if you're looking for a book that will give your friendships a boost, and motivate you to go that extra mile in a new way, you'll likely find inspiration here.
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willszal | Jul 4, 2021 |


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