The Top 5 Books About Women’s Friendships

By Janis Kupferer

It’s written about everyday in major women’s magazines and blog postings, its discussed on daytime television endlessly, and has spawned many dozen books. Female friendship. Here are our favorite books to help you to make these relationships some of your most amazing.

The topics include how to make them, how to keep them and how to let them go. But the undercurrent of all these writings is the knowledge that friendships among women are some of the most important, most beneficial, and most gratifying relationships a gal can have.

1. When Friendship Hurts: How to Deal with Friends Who Betray, Abandon, or Wound You

One of the first books to fully cover the topic of toxic friendships (published in 2002), Sociologist Dr. Jan Yager details 21 of the most negative friendships personalities (ever known a “Rival?”). Yager offers information on how to manage friendships and end friendships, and reminds us of why we strive so hard to make our female friendships last.

I love the advice Yager gives in her interview with Diane Sawyer on how to end a friendship. She says, “Its important to let the friend know that it’s not her, it’s the way the two of you interact.”

2. The Twisted Sisterhood: Unraveling the Dark Legacy of Female Friendships

After a difficult experience in her college sorority, author Kelly Valen had pretty much sworn off women friends, although her interest in how women interact never waned. That curiosity drove Valen to interviewed over 3,000 women to gain first-hand knowledge of just how other women were feeling about friendships with women. The unpleasant results were that although most women absolutely counted on support from at least one terrific friend, the vast majority had absolutely had negative experiences with other women, experiences that tainted their desire to reach out and form other female friendships.

In her article for, Valen says that her goal with the book was “to increase awareness about the profound influence we females often have on one another (for better but sometimes, sadly, for worse) and about the hidden, lingering hurts and struggles that result from our inhumanity. I’ve hoped to prompt reflection, trigger new dialogues, and maybe, just maybe, inspire a little social change” Valen says.

3. The Friendship Crisis: Finding, Making, and Keeping Friends When You're Not a Kid Anymore

I am right onboard with author Marla Paul’s suggestion that many, many women suffer from difficulty in making new friends and keeping friends as our lives take their inevitable twists and turns. A relocation, a change in marital status, a retirement can radically alter our lives, and in turn, our friendships.

Paul offers advice on ways to re-enter and succeed at the friendship game, offering experts from her own life experience with the same issue—needing to enhance her circle of friends, and finding it hard to do so as an adult.

Longtime columnist for the Chicago Tribune writing about women’s friendship, Paul’s advise is expert.

4. The Friends We Keep: A Woman's Quest for the Soul of Friendship

Sarah Zacharias Davis’ interest in women’s friendships and her belief as to their enormous benefit is sincere and heartwarming. Davis writes from the her own experiences, but also pulls greatly from other noteworthy sources in her attempt to sort out the various personalities of friendships and the stages through which they move.

One reviewer on Goodreads commented,”The Friends We Keep discusses all forms of friendship from seasonal friendship, soul friendship, unplanned friendship and distanced friendship. Friendship is lined up against fictional references, movie references and biblical imagery. The Friends We Keep is beautifully written. Even the cover is beautiful.”

5. What Did I Do Wrong?: What to Do When You Don't Know Why the Friendship Is Over

Like most of the authors above, Liz Pryor writes from personal experience, flavoring her book with the empathy that comes from having been both hurt and baffled when a friendship failed. Liz instructs us on how to take the awkwardness out of the “what happened to our friendship” conversation that so many of us feel after a friendship ends for unknown reasons.

The ultimate goal of Pryor’s book is to help women feel better when a friendship ends unexpectedly. Secondarily, her goal is to help us find ways to improve or fix the tattered relationship—with a main tool being an open and honest letter to your friend.

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