MAKING FRIENDS WITH YOURSELF AND OTHER STRANGERS by Dianna Daniels Booher

MAKING FRIENDS WITH YOURSELF AND OTHER STRANGERS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Booher, who has written more forcefully about rape (1981), now takes on a more general, and more usual, subject of teen advice books: friendship. After surveying 215 high school students, she finds that peer friendships are the most important relationships at this age; and so she goes about advising others on how to make, keep, and deal with friends. Regarding that first step, she says, ""You have to risk rejection""; most shy teens put physical or emotional distance between themselves or others, or they deflect overtures with body language. Instead, they should be available, ""fight the hideaway syndrome,"" ask questions, take the initiative, try to meet people one at a time (as entree into a group), and join groups with interests or skills they enjoy. With diligence, kids could benefit from Booher's examples of answers that squelsh conversation and answers that keep it alive after someone else takes the initiative. As for appearance, ""attractiveness counts. But attractiveness involves more than face, figure, and stature."" There are also tips on dealing with the friends you have (how to handle possessiveness, criticism, and other problems) and suggestions for gentle self-examination on the question ""How good a friend are you?"" (Don't, for example, dump all your problems on your best friend, who might resent the burden.) The section on making friends with yourself is really an extension of the other-directed chapters, as it focuses on overcoming shyness (force yourself to talk to people), avoiding behavior that polled teens placed high on their ""obnoxious"" list (snobbery, self-pity, ridiculing others), and examining reasons for rejection (race, immaturity, etc.) to determine whether the other guy's problem or your own attitude is responsible. Finally, Booher says to avoid vulnerability to rejection by ""feeling good about yourself""--a happy state no book like this can bring about. None of this goes deep enough to make much of a dent, though for those who seek hope or comfort in printed advice Booher at least avoids the inanities purveyed by Fleming, below.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1982
Publisher: Messner