To make a friend we must be friend. “Be the friend you want to see in the world,” to mangle Ghandi’s wisdom. Instead of waiting for someone to pluck us into their friendship worlds, we must do the plucking

Chapter 3, Page 90

In a Nutshell

Platonic, written by Marisa G. Franco, PhD is a book about friends. More specifically it’s about making and keeping friends by understanding your attachment style.

Book Club Notes

In the introduction she includes a caveat that few self-growth books do. That this book will teach you a lot about friendship, but knowing alone cannot change your life – to do that you need to apple the takeaways to your friendships. That is difference between learning through instruction and experiential learning.

She makes experiential learning easier by sharing her knowledge through stories – stories that illustrate how to turn the takeaways into actions. Making friends as an adult when you are removed from most of the social environments that promote friendship is hard (as most of us can attest to). Keeping friends when your lives diverge, and you are no longer seeing each other daily is also a hardship of adulthood. This book not only helps you do both, but it will give you a new appreciation of friendship and the importance of nurturing and valuing friendships.

The premise of the book lies around attachment styles. Your attachment style is how you relate to other people and knowing yours, she says, will help you understand what your barriers to making friends is, and how to change it.

The 4 Attachment Styles

There are 4 attachment styles – secure, anxious, avoidant, and fearful. Platonic only covers the first three. Of the fearful attachment style, Franco says that there is not much research on it, so she’s chosen to focus on the others.

Secure attachment

A person with a secure attachment style is able to form healthy relationships with relative ease. They are more trusting, more likely to initiate new friendships, productively address conflict and open up to others. They’re also more accepting of others and better listeners.

Avoidant Attachment

A person with an avoidant attachment is fearful of getting too close to people or depending on them. They focus on the pressure and responsibilities friendship brings and not the joy and fulfillment. They put up more boundaries and are more likely to keep different friend groups separate. They’re more self-sufficient and struggle to ask for and receive help and are likely to withdraw instead of being perceived as vulnerable.

Anxious attachment

A person with anxious attachment tries to merge themselves with the person they’re close to, becoming so close that their sense of self dissolves. They’re more sensitive and likely to be co-dependent and overshare. They need outside affirmation to feel good. They tend to silence their own needs and prioritize the needs of others, which ends up building resentment.

How to work out your attachment style

In the book Franco shares a quick exercise to help you determine your attachment style. She has a table that describes patterns of behavior in a friendship based on attachment style. You tick the behaviors that you demonstrate, and whichever column has the most ticks is your attachment style.

As understanding your attachment style is the starting point to understanding how to make and keep friends, I’ve decided to share that quiz so that you can figure out where you fit in.

Behaviors in Friendship
How to work out your attachment style

What now? Now that you know your attachment style, pick up a copy of Platonic to learn more about how that style affects your friendships and learn actionable tips you can employ to improve the friendships in your life and create new ones. It’s a book anyone can benefit from and one that can help us build stronger relationships.

Read If

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You’re looking to make friends and want to keep friends.

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