This warm, wise exploration of female friendship from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of You Just Don’t Understand will help women lean into these powerful relationships.
A WASHINGTON POST NOTABLE BOOK
Best friend, old friend, good friend, bff, college roommate, neighbor, workplace confidante: Women’s friendships are a lifeline in times of trouble and a support system for daily life. A friend can be like a sister, daughter, mother, mentor, therapist, or confessor—or she can be all of these at once. She’s seen you at your worst and celebrates you at your best. Figuring out what it means to be friends is, in the end, no less than figuring out how we connect to other people.
In this illuminating and validating new book, #1 New York Times bestselling author Deborah Tannen deconstructs the ways women friends talk and how those ways can bring friends closer or pull them apart. From casual chatting to intimate confiding, from talking about problems to telling what you had for dinner, Tannen uncovers the patterns of communication and miscommunication that affect friendships at different points in our lives. She shows how even the best of friends—with the best intentions—can say the wrong thing, and how words can repair the damage done by words. Through Tannen’s signature insight, humor, and ability to present pitch-perfect real-life dialogue, readers will see themselves and their friendships on every page. The book explains
• the power of women friends who show empathy, give advice—or just listen
• how women use talk to connect to friends—and to subtly compete
• how “Fear of Being Left Out” and “Fear of Getting Kicked Out” can haunt women’s friendships
• how social media is reshaping communication and relationships
Drawing on interviews with eighty women of diverse backgrounds, ranging in age from nine to ninety-seven, You’re the Only One I Can Tell gets to the heart of women’s friendships—how they work or fail, how they help or hurt, and how we can make them better.
“Men will enjoy and profit from this book as much as women will. . . . The moral of these stories [is that] the need for friendship is forever, no matter what forms it takes. Friends come and go, but those who allow us to be unself-consciously ourselves? Hamlet understood. We grapple them to our souls with hoops of steel.”—The Wall Street Journal
“A book about friendship that is also interested in the miscommunication that can so complicate it . . . The language, in this book about language, is saturated with concepts that apply equally well to romance in its more traditional forms. The language, too, celebrates friendship in its frustrations and its rewards and, above all, its wonderful complexity. It is promoting friendship from a supporting character into a starring role. . . . A few years ago, the writer Emily Rapp argued that ‘friendships between women are often the deepest and most profound love stories, but they are often discussed as if they are ancillary, “bonus” relationships to the truly important ones.’ They are still, too often, discussed in that way. But not always. Not anymore. And here, through [Deborah] Tannen’s consideration of the communication that informs those relationships, is further evidence of that. The loves that the linguist explores in her romantically named book are not merely ones that comfort and sustain women until, one day, the real thing comes along. They are the real thing.”—The Atlantic
“At a time when the messages we give and get have so many more ways to be misconstrued and potentially damaging, a book that takes apart our language becomes almost vital to our survival as friends.”—The Washington Post
“With knowledge and wisdom, the author helps readers navigate the subtle workings of language in interactions among women. . . . Tannen sets out to help women make friendships stronger, accomplishing this in a highly accessible manner with both scientific research and a warm heart. . . . Firmly recommended for students of women’s studies and for every woman committed to the gift of enduring friendships.”—Library Journal
“Tannen addresses women’s tendency to seek and make bonds, the way secrets and talk of personal troubles can act as currency in this process, the subtle balance between connection and competition between female friends, and much more. . . . [Her] extensive research and writing, full of thought-provoking questions along with facts, are sure to hook readers enticed by her rich topic.”—Booklist
About the Author:
Deborah Tannen is the acclaimed author of You Just Don’t Understand, which was on the New York Times bestseller list for nearly four years; the New York Times bestseller on mother-daughter communication You’re Wearing That?; I Only Say This Because I Love You; and many other books. A professor of linguistics at Georgetown University, she appears frequently on national television and radio. She lives with her husband in the Washington, D.C., area.