Do the women represent the specific types of friend each woman should have?

Use this forum to discuss the February 2018 Book of the Month, "The Reel Sisters" by Michelle Cummings.
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Re: Do the women represent the specific types of friend each woman should have?

Post by bookowlie »

R-g-R wrote:
05 Feb 2018, 07:41
Interesting!
The concept that perhaps women ‘should’ have specific friends covering all different types.
Perhaps it could be argued that the types in the book are too forced? That not all such women as these would actually be keen to engage in fly fishing?

And how to classify them? The businesswomen and single mum - check, plus the motherly career/nurturer - check, probably the sporty one is covered too as well as the arty/crafty one, the good listener, etc. Doesn’t this risk sounding like it’s heading into teenage female fiction, or even younger - tween groups of girlfriends?

Or, if the book is representative of the different types of friends every woman ‘should’ have, does that then suggest that women generally may not be able to enjoy all these types of friendships day-to-day? We see the Reel Sisters only getting together sporadically, rather than regularly. If they are held up as the desirable ideal, then perhaps all friendship groups with different types and different patterns of gathering are doomed?! :-O

What do others think?
You bring up a good point regarding day-to-day interactions vs. getting together sporadically. When I read this book, I wondered if the friendships among the five women would have been the same if they saw each other all the time. They led such different lives and were at different stages. Young mother Amanda struggled with money and Veronica had a high-powered career and was financially comfortable. Would they sustain a day-to-day friendship with Amanda being unable to afford nice restaurants, for example? Sophie ran a business where she didn't have much free time. I think their friendship worked better as sporadic "me-time" gatherings away from their "real world."
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Post by R-g-R »

CatInTheHat wrote:
26 Feb 2018, 09:42
R-g-R wrote:
05 Feb 2018, 07:41
Interesting!
The concept that perhaps women ‘should’ have specific friends covering all different types.
Perhaps it could be argued that the types in the book are too forced? That not all such women as these would actually be keen to engage in fly fishing?

And how to classify them? The businesswomen and single mum - check, plus the motherly career/nurturer - check, probably the sporty one is covered too as well as the arty/crafty one, the good listener, etc. Doesn’t this risk sounding like it’s heading into teenage female fiction, or even younger - tween groups of girlfriends?

Or, if the book is representative of the different types of friends every woman ‘should’ have, does that then suggest that women generally may not be able to enjoy all these types of friendships day-to-day? We see the Reel Sisters only getting together sporadically, rather than regularly. If they are held up as the desirable ideal, then perhaps all friendship groups with different types and different patterns of gathering are doomed?! :-O

What do others think?
I don't think it's something women intentionally seek. I think that for many of us, it's just something that happens naturally during the course of life.
Agree. Friendships just happen naturally. So it is not possible to ‘ensure’ we have ‘one of each’ type of friend, thus it could be argued that the contents of the book can’t be used as a blueprint for our friendships.

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Post by R-g-R »

bookowlie wrote:
26 Feb 2018, 11:21
R-g-R wrote:
05 Feb 2018, 07:41
Interesting!
The concept that perhaps women ‘should’ have specific friends covering all different types.
Perhaps it could be argued that the types in the book are too forced? That not all such women as these would actually be keen to engage in fly fishing?

And how to classify them? The businesswomen and single mum - check, plus the motherly career/nurturer - check, probably the sporty one is covered too as well as the arty/crafty one, the good listener, etc. Doesn’t this risk sounding like it’s heading into teenage female fiction, or even younger - tween groups of girlfriends?

Or, if the book is representative of the different types of friends every woman ‘should’ have, does that then suggest that women generally may not be able to enjoy all these types of friendships day-to-day? We see the Reel Sisters only getting together sporadically, rather than regularly. If they are held up as the desirable ideal, then perhaps all friendship groups with different types and different patterns of gathering are doomed?! :-O

What do others think?
You bring up a good point regarding day-to-day interactions vs. getting together sporadically. When I read this book, I wondered if the friendships among the five women would have been the same if they saw each other all the time. They led such different lives and were at different stages. Young mother Amanda struggled with money and Veronica had a high-powered career and was financially comfortable. Would they sustain a day-to-day friendship with Amanda being unable to afford nice restaurants, for example? Sophie ran a business where she didn't have much free time. I think their friendship worked better as sporadic "me-time" gatherings away from their "real world."
Agree!

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Post by micoleon13 »

I think this is a very interesting question. I think that having friends who can provide different perspectives on advice are necessary, but some friends can have multiple aspects so having a wide variety of friends may be the case for some people, others may find the same support and advice in one or two.

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Post by qsusan »

Rather than the friends one should have, i feel it presents an idealised version of the most common female personalities in today's world. Still the characters feel real and not too idealised. It must have been diffucult for the author to strike the right note between the ideal and the realness and relativity factor.

Although there is the occssional dissonance, the right balance is struck; the characters feel real and 3 dimensional despite their personalities being defined around set moulds.

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Post by Londera »

I dont think women should have "specific" types of friends. In real life people cant be put into such clear cut categories. They only exist for the purpose of a story.

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Post by Mercy Bolo »

As a woman, I can attest all too well that women only keep beneficial or people of similar interests in their inner circle. Those who fall outside this parameter are the people whose contacts you keep in your address book but you only talk to occasionally, i. e when you need something or to send out a holiday greeting. Hanging out with them isn't really a priority.
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Post by ericahs »

I would love to see this list, I've never heard of it. I definitely find different things in different friendships.
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Post by KLafser »

CommMayo wrote:
06 Feb 2018, 10:29
I love the conversations that are happening with this question! I think that many of us are guilty of surrounding ourselves with people who are very much like ourselves...be it because we make friends at work, in clubs, or other self-selecting activities. While I agree that it does seem a bit ridiculous to search out friends that check a box on a mythical list, I do enjoy having friends who are at different stages of their lives or who have lives and experiences that are different from mine. I think it is a way that we can create that village of support around ourselves in a world where that traditional support structure no longer exists.
I love CommMayo's observation. We DO surround us with like-minded (or, looks like me) people and it does us a disservice in that, in my opinion, it breeds intolerance. When we only identify with ourselves, we don't appreciate the differences that make us all fantastic. I don't believe we need a specific list of what types of friends we should have but should instead look to include people that represent a facet of ourselves that might be weaker than it is in others AND allow that person to compliment our being.

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Post by Aphroditelaughs »

R-g-R wrote:
05 Feb 2018, 07:41
Interesting!
The concept that perhaps women ‘should’ have specific friends covering all different types.
Perhaps it could be argued that the types in the book are too forced? That not all such women as these would actually be keen to engage in fly fishing?

And how to classify them? The businesswomen and single mum - check, plus the motherly career/nurturer - check, probably the sporty one is covered too as well as the arty/crafty one, the good listener, etc. Doesn’t this risk sounding like it’s heading into teenage female fiction, or even younger - tween groups of girlfriends?

Or, if the book is representative of the different types of friends every woman ‘should’ have, does that then suggest that women generally may not be able to enjoy all these types of friendships day-to-day? We see the Reel Sisters only getting together sporadically, rather than regularly. If they are held up as the desirable ideal, then perhaps all friendship groups with different types and different patterns of gathering are doomed?! :-O

What do others think?
It starts to sound like the Spice Girls! I'm the sporty one. That's the complete definition of my self and I have no areas of overlap with the rest of the group. We make a great team! :wink:

I don't like the idea that a woman should have a checklist against which she must judge the friends she keeps. While we should value the different things each friend brings to our relationship, and examine whether that friendship is healthy and beneficial, a list of necessary attributes to distribute among one's friend group seems arbitrary.

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Post by Gerry_9 »

Very interesting comments from you people. I have not had many friends in my life therefore I cannot have much authority in this topic. However I believe in diversity. Having friends from different walks of life and different ages helps one to be all round and quite knowledgeable. For example I have friends twice my age and they have broaden my perspective on life. They have taught me much about life the dos and the don'ts which I admit have been very helpful. I think the author of the book had a point by bringing together characters from different backgrounds which enriches the book

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Post by Kelaine »

Saying that anybody 'should have' certain types of friends may be over-reaching, but the concept of having friends with a variety of personalities isn't a terrible or unfamiliar thing. And while we generally initially make friends with people that have things in common with us, those things in common aren't necessarily the things that deepen our relationships from acquaintances into friends.

For instance, I've got friends that I met in school as we were in the same classes, friends I play the same sports with, friends I met at book club, and friends that I met through mutual friends. But these people aren't my friends because we studied the same thing, played the same sport, read the same book, or knew the same people. It's that, after meeting over some fairly trivial commonality, we found things that we had in common that had deeper meaning.

However, having things in common doesn't mean we all have the same personality. One of my best friends (we met in a Social Studies class) is a wild and crazy music fiend, plugged in all the time, always on the go and in the know about album releases and concerts, whereas I drive far too slow and can only on occasion name the song on the radio. But we both love great food, pet rescues, and once had a long conversation about what people are deeply afraid of - that's what keeps us together. Another great friend (we met at book club) spends what I consider to be ridiculous amounts of time and money on makeup, owns more shoes than it should be legal for one person to own, and loves wearing dresses and frills and lace and such. I can't remember the last time I wore lipstick. But we're great friends because she has an amazing sense of humour (and my dog likes her; dogs can always pick out the good ones).

Point being, I think it would be boring being friends with other versions of myself. I think we would all benefit from having friends that are very different from us. That doesn't mean you need to be friends with a 'mother hen', a pro athlete, and an effervescent party-goer; but perhaps you should consider getting to know people that aren't mirror images of you.

How are you going to grow as a person if you don't surround yourself with opportunities to be changed?

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Post by Jmteachmom »

I have not personally read this book but I do feel like as a woman, I can say that most of us choose our friends based on similarities in personalities. My best friend is very similar to me but there are stark contrast in our way of life. I am a farm girl and she is not shoveling poop to save her life. We have a appreciation for each other that transcends the differences though.

Just a side note: Too many females in your friend circle can lead to drama. :roll:

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Post by rcarr13 »

Lest92 wrote:
10 Feb 2018, 14:28
I have acquaintances, but no real friends, though I think that having these archetypal friends around might be good for me. Nevertheless, one is lucky if one finds new friends in adulthood, since everyone starts getting set in their ways and more focused on their husbands, careers, and kids at this stage. Friendship like this kind seems to become an afterthought, if at all.
I find this to be true as well. Even the people I considered friends when I was in school have lives of their own now, and finding time to get together is hard. Most of my acquaintances I have met through my husband, my church, or my kids. I do think it's important to interact with people that are different from myself, and I try to be nice and include everyone in a group, but I wouldn't say I have many close friends.

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Post by mcfeealexis »

I think that in a perfect world we would want people of different personality and traits to be our closes friend, but the human mind do not work that way. We seek out people that are similar to use which means that they also have similar at the same traits and personality has we do. I do like the idea that we all should have people surround us that are different and that maybe this book will open peoples eyes so that they can make a change in their lives.

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