Let’s Hang Out by Chris Duffy

subtitled Making (and Keeping) Friends, Acquaintances, and Other Nonromantic Relationships.

Jeez, who couldn’t use a guide like this? Alright, if I’m being perfectly honest: me, as I’ve never really had trouble making and keeping friends. Sure, I’ve had spectacular blow ups with best friends, but that was usually their faults, and I’m pretty good at repairing stuff once they get over themselves, if they ever do. But I’m also one of those irritatingly personable people who loves cultivating other interesting people, who loves listening to others and admiring the cool stories they have to share. I will also gleefully drown any spasms of self-consciousness in my pursuit of doing both what’s fun and what’s right. If anything, I sometimes actively avoid pursuing friendships so I can concentrate on things like work and spending time with my kids.

But it’s really freaking nice to know that there are incredibly accessible manuals on how to meet and cultivate non-romantic relationships, such as this one written by comedian and writer Chris Duffy. Even before the pandemic, adults out of college have been lamenting the difficulty of making friends in real life. The lockdowns limited our in-person social connections out of necessity, but recovering from the experience has proven difficult, as Mr Duffy notes in these pages. But it’s especially because we’ve been starved of human contact that it’s more important than ever that we re-learn how to do something that seemed to be far simpler when we were younger.

Mr Duffy splits his short book into the different kinds of friendships we cultivate, from casual “Hey There!” acquaintances to the kind of Chosen Family people take active steps to live out the rest of their lives near. It’s a terrific delineation of the different kinds of friendly social contact we have in our everyday lives, as well as the importance of each. Mr Duffy talks about the ways we can encourage these friendships to move from one level to the next, mostly by just showing up and being consistent. Honestly, I’ve never seen that stressed enough anywhere outside these pages. Just being there for someone is huge.

The only flaw I see in this book is one that Mr Duffy does try to address: how friendliness can too often be seen as flirtation, especially by cis men. As a cis woman, I can attest to the fact that no adult is as weird about navigating the friend zone as a socially awkward cis guy is around someone he’s attracted to but, for whatever reason, can’t pursue. Of course, a book on making friends is hardly going to be able to solve the problem of patriarchal entitlement, but I think encouragement for readers to be honest and compassionate both with themselves and others will go a long way to allowing people to expand their social circles without fear of rejection or worse.

Let’s Hang Out by Chris Duffy was published today June 26 2024 by Everand Originals and can be found here.

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