FRIENDFLUENCE: The Surprising Ways Friends Make Us Who We Are. By Carlin Flora. Doubleday. 240 pages. $25.95.
Friends lie to each other, it’s true, but usually they mean well.
Carlin Flora is less likely to be forgiven for her lie, because we don’t know her and her lie costs us time and money: There are no surprises in “Friendfluence.”
Flora spends 240 pages quoting other people, summarizing other people’s studies or recounting episodes from her own or other people’s friendships, none of which is terribly enlightening. What it all boils down to is that friendships are necessary and they influence us.
“Friendfluence” includes a lot of common-sense observations, such as shy people have to work harder to make friends; people who have been friends for a long time are more likely to remain friends; your friends are typically people you have something in common with; people whose friends are obese are more likely to become obese themselves; and friends can be good influences or bad ones. No revelations there.
While “Friendfluence” certainly stresses the importance of friendship, there is nothing in it to make readers think, re-evaluate or believe it was worth reading this book instead of spending time with, well, friends.
Reviewer Carol Edwards is a freelance editor and farmer living in Marlboro County.