Last week on my podcast, Totally Completely Fine, I had the pleasure of chatting to the brilliant Kate Leaver about her new book, The Friendship Cure. I met Kate back in 2013 when she was working for Cosmopolitan Australia and I was nominated for their Fun Fearless Female Award (Thanks to Caitlin Neville!) As someone who loves my friends as much as I love a perfectly executed breakfast sandwich, I simply cannot wait to read Kate’s book, which is out in April. You can read my edited interview with Kate below!
Summer: Why did you decide to write The Friendship Cure?
Kate: The Friendship Cure came to me because I was actively searching for an idea for a book. I was longing to write something long form and really get stuck into some research. Even though I had some other ideas, I was mostly interested in the idea of friendship after reading an article in Hyde Park in London on a strangely sunny morning. The article was in The Atlantic and it talked about how friendship changes as we get older. It basically said that when you get married or get into a significant relationship or have kids, you statistically lose three friends. This essentially frightened me into writing the book because I have some really special friends that mean so much to me. The idea that I would go into this next, frankly terrifying stage of life, with the possibility of three less friends to help me manage all the different aspects of partnership and parenting. It inspired me to write a manifesto on why that shouldn’t happen and how healthy friendships can keep us alive and happy.
Summer: I love this idea and totally agree. I put my love for my friendship on the same level as my husband. Even though it’s not romantic, it is imperative to my wellbeing.
Kate: Exactly! As people, we’ve been conditioned to put romantic relationship love over every other kind of love and we forget how important friendship is.
Summer: I often think about the fact that I moved around the world for one person and left 10+ truly important people back in the US. Luckily, the world is a much smaller place today and my tribe always makes the effort to stay connected.
Kate: The research just got more and more interesting because there’s a lot to do with the emotional aspects of friendship, which I was naturally already across wanting to talk about. But then I delved into the science, about some of the health insurance and some of the health dangers of loneliness and social isolation. It made me feel this urgency that we as a society need to reassess just how important friendship is.
Summer: When I moved to Mudgee six years ago, I felt this enormous pressure to find a “best friend.” In a way I think I was trying to fill the void of not having my soul sisters in my life. However, I found it hard because I was pretty settled and exiting the self-discovery phase of life. If you don’t have history from childhood or go through something significant together like travel, a break-up or career change – how do you bond? (Spoiler: it’s totally possible…)
Kate: It’s interesting. There’s not so much science about that as there is theory. A lot of psychologists will say that the true friendships that last a lifetime are the ones where you’ve been through something significant together. And certainly old mate, Aristotle, thought you had to go through….although he was most likely talking about male to male friendship because, let’s be honest, he didn’t really take women into account in a lot of his philosophy. But he sort of thought you needed to go through a war together, and it’s possible he was talking about genuine, actual war. However, I interpreted that in the modern sense to mean some sort of conflict, not necessarily with each other, but just in general in your life; some kind of obstacle or struggle that brings you together.
Summer: Turns out the obstacle for me in Mudgee was motherhood!
Kate: You definitely know the difference in friendships when you have been through something that has an emotional trauma attached to it - one or the other of you, or together. I think being there for someone in a time of crisis is probably the most bonding thing you can go through….. MORE in the Totally Completely Fine Minisode 2.
Links to listen as follows:
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Summer Land is the author of Summerlandish and Co-Host of the Totally Completely Fine podcast.