Monthly Archives: January 2013

The Hard Facts: Friendfluence

It’s Research Wednesday! Where I share the latest, or most fascinating, in the science of friendship.

“What’s more, our friend networks are remarkably unstable themselves. A study by a Dutch sociologist who tracked about a thousand people of all ages found that on average, we lose half of our close network members every seven years. To think that half of the people currently on your ‘most dialed’ list will fade out of your life in less than a decade is frightening indeed.” (Friendfluence by Carlin Flora)

This is just one of about a thousand fascinating tidbits in journalist Carlin Flora’s new bookFriendfluence, which hit bookshelves yesterday. Flora was on staff at Psychology Today for eight years, so she knows her stuff when it comes to the science behind relationships. She and I seem to be interested in all the same subjects–Flora wrote a great article about celebrity obsession that touches on all the same themes as my upcoming book–so I was especially excited that she mentioned my search, and MWF Seeking BFF, in Friendfluence. 

If you’re interested in the science and psychology of friendship, you’ll really love this very readable book. Here’s the fun video trailer, which is especially interesting for two reasons: 1) It stars Nate Silver! and 2) all the featured friendships are cross-gender. Very curious.

Do these friendships remind you of any of your relationships?

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The Golden Globes Will Be a BFF Fest

The Golden Globes are on Sunday! Award shows are the best, and my favorite is always this booze-heavy celebration of both TV and film. That it’s being hosted by everybody’s favorite pair of Best Friends Forever just makes it more exciting. And probably funnier. And it will probably have you wishing, even more than you already are, that Tina and Amy would just make room for you at their brunch table.

(OMG I just learned that there was once actually an auction to be their third BFF. And obviously the winner had the best time ever. Duh.)

Since the show is also a celebration of all the megastars I’m embracing in my current Year of Living Celebrity Fabulousness, I’ve got the double excitement.

For those of you wondering what these grown-up BFFs have in store for us, or why everyone is gaga for Fey and Poehler, I present you with this:

Will you be tuning in on Sunday?

Chicago! Shasta Nelson, author of the upcoming book “Friendships Don’t Just Happen!” and founder of GirlfriendCircles.com, will be leading  a “Friendship Accelerator” in Chicago on Sunday, February 10. It’s a full-day retreat with a small group of women that Shasta says is “the most effective way of fostering new friendships.” Watch the invitation on YouTube, and, get more information–and an application!–here. It sounds fantastic! (I’ll be out of town otherwise I’d be applying myself.)

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The Hard Facts: Being Alone Is Different Than Feeling Alone

It’s Research Wednesday! Where I share the latest, or most fascinating, in the science of friendship.

“The majority of lonely people (62.5 percent) were married or living with others — an indication that feeling lonely and being alone are not the same. ‘It’s not the quantity but the quality of your relationships that matters,’ said Dr. Carla M. Perissinotto, a geriatrician who led the study. ‘You can’t tell who may be feeling lonely. It’s not just a little old lady living all alone.'” (“A Longer Life Is Lived With Company,” New York Times, 9/11/2012)

The study mentioned above found what anyone who’s ever read this blog already knows: Make friends, live longer. But the interesting finding, IMHO (that’s webspeak, I just learned, for In My Humble Opinion. Aren’t I hip?), is the note that the people who qualify as lonely aren’t necessarily the ones in isolation.

Intuitively, we know this. Maybe the loneliest you’ve felt was at a party full of people. Or you were alone at the movie theaters, enjoying Les Miz, and felt totally content. Personally, one of my loneliest times was when I realized I was short on local friends. This, even though I was newly married, had family less than a mile away, and went to an office full of ladies every day. Loneliness isn’t about how isolated you are, it’s how isolated you feel. It’s about self-perception. After all, plenty of people who find themselves in the exact opposite situation as I was in–surrounded by friends but lacking a romantic partner–feel lonely, too.

According to Perissinotto, the necessary next phase of research is to find out why people are lonely. A pretty valuable first step given that apparently 20 percent of the population is chronically lonely. 20 percent! That’s nutters.

Tell me: Have you ever felt lonely in a situation where you were anything but alone? Was it hard to talk about? Personally, I hated saying I was lonely, even when I was, because I felt like I sounded ridiculous. “I just got married and am constantly surrounded by people… I’m so lonely!” It sounds like melodrama, even if it’s real. Have you been there?

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Poll! Which Celebrity Lifestyle Do You Want For Yourself?

As some of you may know, I’m working on a new book that will hopefully be in stores early next year. I’m super excited about it, as it deals largely with some of my greatest obsessions: Pop culture, celebrities, and the lure of the weekly tabloids.

Here’s the official description:

Author of MWF SEEKING BFF, Rachel Bertsche’s JENNIFER, GWYNETH AND ME: The Pursuit of a More Perfect Existence, One Celebrity at a Time, about the author’s efforts to improve her life by emulating the aspects of A-list stars’ lives that she (to say nothing of our celebrity-obsessed culture) most admires, such as Jennifer Aniston’s workout regime, Gwyneth Paltrow’s kitchen, and Tina Fey’s work ethic, to Jennifer Smith for Ballantine Trade Paperbacks, by Kari Stuart at ICM (world).

As I’ve been writing–and taking on these various megastar lifestyles–I’ve realized that sometimes the aspects of a celebrity’s life that we think  we want, isn’t really something we’d choose for ourselves when it comes down to it.

Still, I’m curious what you all think. If you could make over just one aspect of your life to be just like a certain celebrity’s, what would it be? Want Jennifer Aniston’s abs? The Garner-Affleck seemingly perfect marriage? Wish you could go all Julia and become totally zen? Please chime in on my poll, and feel free to write-in your own answers in the comments if none of these appeal to you.

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The Hard Facts: New Year, New You

It’s Research Wednesday! Where I share the latest, or most fascinating, in the science of friendship.

“Reading more books has topped a list of most popular New Year’s resolutions, according to a survey. The poll conducted by LA Fitness asked 2,000 people what their aims for 2013 are. Saving money and losing weight are the second and third most common resolutions respectively, ahead of redecorating and taking better pictures.” (“Top 40 Most Popular New Year’s Resolutions for 2013 Revealed,” DigitalSpy.com)

While neither “make new friends” nor “spend more time with friends” are on this list, plenty of the most popular resolutions have to do with socializing “better.” By better, I mean mostly in person, and with people that make us feel good about ourselves.

Here’s the list of all 40:

1. Read more books
2. Save more money
3. Lose weight
4. Redecorate
5. Take better photos
6. Go traveling
7. Sell old unwanted stuff on eBay
8. Buy a tablet
9. Organize photos
10. Do something for charity
11. Spend more time with kids
12. Buy a Sunday paper
13. Less TV time
14. Connect my computer to my TV
15. Leave work on time more often
16. Less time on Facebook
17. Totally revamp my wardrobe
18. Try a new hairstyle
19. Get a six-pack
20. Eat less chocolate
21. Socialise more in real life rather than Facebook
22. Drink less alcohol
23. Buy less coffee from Starbucks/big chains
24. Start my own business
25. Tell someone I have feelings for them
26. Quit smoking
27. Gain a promotion
28. Learn how to use Twitter
29. Run a half or full marathon
30. Call people more than text
31. Cut someone out of my life who isn’t good for me
32. Meet online contacts in real life
33. Watch less reality TV
34. Text people less
35. Try to save relationship
36. Try extreme sports
37. Get better at social networking
38. Stop contacting/going back to an ex-partner
39. Have a face-to-face with my boss to find out where I stand
40. Do a bungee jump

Life has gotten crazy lately (whose hasn’t?) and I let this site slip during the holidays, so my resolution is to get back to blogging! I hope to see you all here every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

And if your resolution is the ever-popular “read more books,” might I suggest MWF Seeking BFFIt’s a fun, easy read, and the perfect push you need to kick-start your year of better socializing.

What’s your New Year’s Resolution?

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