A manual explores the complications of interpersonal relationships.
Boe (Letters to Kegan, 2006) wrote his new book as a handy guide to relationships to both share lessons he’s learned from a career in consulting and to head off potential problems with a prevention strategy. “Preventing harm and avoiding bad relationships,” he writes, “is better than figuring out how to respond after someone has already been violated and hurt.” Consequently, his manual spends a good deal of time elaborating on the warning signs and trouble indicators and touching on a wide variety of interpersonal aspects, from love to infatuation to mutual respect and support to questions of abuse and trust. Throughout these quick, information-rich chapters, the author is consistently assuring his readers that their own instincts are powerful tools in any uncertain situation. “If you ever feel like your partner (or a person you just met) is more focused on their own desires than they are on you and your mutual enjoyment and comfort, it is important to take that impression seriously,” he writes. “You are probably right.” Each of Boe’s chapters lays out simple, often common-sense observations that are generally sensitive and supportive (although the author can be extremely direct when the subject warrants it, writing, for example: “You are not obligated to make accommodations for a person who has mistreated you”). His primary focus seems to be on helping people in all kinds of relationships protect themselves from heartbreak and trust themselves in reaching out, with specific applications ranging from social media to marriage to a refreshingly blunt section introducing readers to the concept of tact. The author’s insights are broad enough to be of interest to all age groups, but it’s fairly obvious that young people, particularly young men, will benefit the most from the straightforward wisdom presented in these pages.
A thorough, all-purpose guide to managing relationships—how to create good ones, avoid bad ones, and escape from harmful ones.