What Did I Do Wrong?: When Women Don't Tell Each Other the Friendship Is Over
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What Did I Do Wrong?: When Women Don't Tell Each Other the Friendship Is Over

3.61 of 5 stars 3.61  ·  rating details  ·  212 ratings  ·  57 reviews
It happens without warning, and it hits you with devastating force. Your closest girlfriend, the Ethel to your Lucy, the Thelma to your Louise, cuts you off completely. No more late-night phone calls, no more afternoon e-mails, no more catch-up lunches and dinners. She has decided for whatever reason to move on with her life and has left you to figure it out on your own. T...more
Hardcover, 193 pages
Published March 1st 2006 by Free Press (first published 2006)
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Mar 21, 2007 Andrea rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone who's ever lost a girlfriend
We all know what happens when you break up with a boyfriend, but what happens when you break up with your best friend? This book gets to the heart of the matter and holy crap, is it intense. As someone who has been dumped by a close friend in the past, I could not put this book down. Liz Pryor's writing is fluid and straight-forward and she uses her own breakup as the background for the book. She writes about the grief, shame, anger, hurt and confusion that can surround the ending of a beloved f...more
Aerial Nun
Jun 22, 2008 Aerial Nun rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: every woman with a frenemy
Recommended to Aerial Nun by: Bust magazine
Every woman has that friend who is nothing but toxic, who we feel we want to cut out of our lives but we just don't know how to. This book not only tells you how, but tells you repeatedly not to feel bad about not wanting to be friends with a selfish, manipulative cuntface. Good reading!
It was refreshing to read a book that focuses attention on female friendships. It is ingrained in our minds through movies and books that woman are supposed to have lifelong best friends. "Best Friends Forever" from childhood bracelets, secrets shared across sleeping bags, and trips to the pool and mall, to first boyfriends, college, and future families. There is such an extensive amount of time and emotion invested in friendships such as these, but like romantic relationships, they too can unde...more
As most of us have, I've been on both sides of the dynamics of "ending a friendship," so this compilation was important to me. The thing I gleaned the most from is that when one divorces a husband/breaks up with a boyfriend, etc., she garner MORE support and friendship from unlikely sources than when one has to break up with a friend... It's not spoken of, it's not supported, it's looked upon as a sign of weakness, it feels shameful, and on and on. Even checking this book out felt "wrong" someho...more
Why is it that a breakup with a boyfriend, even a relationship that lasted only a couple of months, gets more support than the ending of a friendship between two women? With a boyfriend, there is acknowledgment that the relationship is over and then the comforting you receive from friends and family, allowing a sense of closure. An ending of a close female friendship barely gets a nod, if it’s in fact acknowledged at all.

I’ve had many “What did I do wrong?” moments. And for years I thought I was...more
Lara Mckee
I think the topic of this book was interesting. I agree with the author that our society does not talk about the ending of friendships between women and there isn't any etiquette or expectations established for ending a friendship. Reading this book made me feel a little melancholy as I read about these failed friendships and thought about friendships that have ended or changed in my life. Although many friendships were described I didn't feel like there were any solid solutions for dealing with...more
Paula Shulse
I think many women would benefit from reading this book. Our relationships with each other seem more complicated than the ones we have with men and when things go bad/wrong/south, the break-ups can be devastating. This book puts those situations in perspective and even guides the readers into how to handle the break up of a friend. The section where a group of neighbors cuts off one family touched on a sore spot of mine since my family had a similar situation happen. It truly hurts when you lose...more
This was very helpful in terms of giving voice to an experience I've had of being dumped by female friends. It also forced me to acknowledge that I have dumped friends -- both female and male. I thought the most valuable thing about this book was that it gave voice to an experience for which we don't really have conceptual categories in our culture. The notion is that friendships are supposed to last forever, and when they don't, there's no real language to talk about it, and no way to articulat...more
May 24, 2011 Stephanie rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: If you like: The Purpose Driven Life
I am a person who breaks-up with friends. I am more than willing to admit it. I’m not very good at keeping in touch with friends once they are out of my sphere, although I do miss them. I don’t tell them what’s going on in my life, you’re better at learning about me from Facebook or this blog than getting me to call you or write a letter. I am also more than willing to admit that I was hoping that Liz Pryor’s book What Did I Do Wrong? What to Do when You Don’t Know Why the Friendship Over (from...more
An interesting book about the ending of female friendships from many different perspectives. About why we are so hurt when a friendship ends whether by our own choice or someone elses, how we avoid the confrontations, try not to hurt other's feelings, allow BS to continue when we know better...on and on. Helped me to realize that a friendship that ended a while back was not a healthy friendship in the first place.....and most importantly made me think about the relationships I have with my frien...more
Book Him Danno
I am shocked what I learned in this book, I have been at both ends of a friendship. The one ending it and the one being ended with, I could see both sides and it made me really think about my friendships. Being ‘Dumped’ is tough and especially if it is someone you have known forever, but it happens and this book helps you understand that and how to cope with it.

Choosing to end a friendship is difficult and takes much thought, but once you make the decision you are already gone. You just now need...more
Heather B
I found this book fascinating. My eyes have been opened to the way women treat one another. Pryer describes how we treat breakups with boyfriends and girlfriends seriously, but when girlfriends break up with girlfriends, we sort of brush it off and don't talk about it. When women choose to break up with their friends they tend to ignore them and move on. This leaves the person being broken up with feeling confused and heartbroken not knowing what went wrong. How can they move on when yesterday t...more
This is a really well done book with lots of stories as well as good analysis about women's friendships.

The premise is that in boyfriend/girlfriend relationships there is always an official break-up, but in women's friendships there is often not a clear explanation and one woman just stops responding to calls and communication leaving the other friend hurt and confused.

One of the messages from the book is that although women breaking up the friendship try to shield their friend from pain by av...more
This book is an exploration of how women end, or to be more accurate, don't end their friendships. The initial point of the book is that women tend to simply trail off into avoidance when friendships are over, rather than having a real confrontation moment that solidly defines, and respects, the friendship's ending. What the author shows is that the "avoidance" types of endings ultimately result in more pain and confusion, than if the conflict had not been avoided.

The book is comprised of essent...more
Recently, I've started to think deeply about enduring friendship and in particular, women's friendships. Women's friendships are often deep and connected, lives get entangled, but oftentimes, friendships abruptly just end. These friends often make us who we are and it's difficult to come face to face with the fact that most friendships have an expiration date.

This topic just fascinates me. The more I read on this topic, the more I understand that the notion of a "BFF" is somewhat of a myth in ou...more
This book covered many different stories, including the author's personal experiences, that illustrated how women's friendships may end and the emotional impact it can have on both the individual initiating the break-up and the one being dumped.

Friendships are so important to women, that we need to pay attention to a friendship when it's not going right. "Women's love and commitment to one another is abounding, yet when friendships end, we show little to no respect or honor for that which has e...more
Recently I'd become fascinated with friendships. I found this book through an article in a magazine and pursued it mostly out of curiosity rather than a hope of gaining advice. I've had friendships awkwardly end and I wondered what other women had to say about it. I'd also just written an email to my friend about this very topic and figured it wasn't fate so much as a funny coincidence upon which I should take the bait.

Liz Pryor attempts to offer insights into female friendships. From what I can...more
May 10, 2008 Roxanne rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: every woman I know
Shelves: nonfiction, feminist
This is a nonfiction book about close female friends, and how their friendships sometimes end: one woman decides, for whatever reason, that a friendship is over, and gradually avoids her friend, hoping to spare her the pain of a confrontation. The friend being dumped perceives that something is wrong, but can't get her friend to talk to her, and the bad feelings and doubt and guilt gnaw at her, sometimes for years afterward. Women do this to each other all the time. Pryor is struck by how this d...more
A really interesting book about a subject almost never discussed -- how women who are best friends "break up" with each other, which most often means that they just stop talking to each other and don't directly address that something is wrong in the first place. It's a source of frustration and pain for many women, and I really like the fact that the author addresses this; her research in this book is also interesting, as she conducted many focus groups as her main evidence. My main complaint is...more
This was one of our Book Club reads a few years ago and prompted some entertaining discussion. Seems we all had a story to tell. If you were ever the recipient of a friendship that ended and left you wondering why, this book is for you. I am still horrified over some of the real-life narratives mentioned here about women who were jilted by their so-called friends. One woman was accidentally butt-dialed, and happened to overhear her two best friends talking about her in a negative way for 20 minu...more
There aren't really any solutions or issues explored which could answer ALL of our questions about why we've had friends do these disappearing acts to us. But I have to say I was drawn to this book now knowing beforehand that no one had explored this phenomenon before to such depth, so I appreciate that I'm not alone out there!
Interested in writing non-fiction? This writer took an experience that happened to her, did her research to see if it happened to others, and turned it into a writing project. Now she is a successful published author. What experiences have you had that maybe with a little connection to others experiences could be a book-length project?
Every woman I know has at least one friendship that has dissolved, without either woman confronting the other about why. In fact, I am in the process of letting one of mine dissolve as I write this: I have tried for so many years to make it work and it just. Isn't. Going. To. Anyways, I have many more that have dissolved, some I don't believe with any bad feelings, they just....went away. And this book was a comfort in that it made me realize that it is a phenomenom among women, and that, in tur...more
This is a great book! It was comforting (and disturbing) to learn how common this is. It made me wonder why we're not more honest with our friends--when it's a true friend, why can't we just say, "this is annoying me." Why do we feel the need to end a close friendship when we're going through difficult times? Why is it all or nothing? How real are our friendships after all, if we can't be totally honest with each other about each other.

It's a sad comment on our collective character that we so e...more
Great book.

"The companions of our childhood always possess a certain power over our minds which hardly any later friend can obtain."

"The day I decided would not be around her anymore, she became a memory waiting to be forgotten."

"For some, admitting to a broken friendship has become like admitting to a failed marriage. Over the last two decades, a myth of lifelong friendship has emerged, even as the ideal of a lifelong marriage has, sadly, become an unrealistic reality for many people."
Though I was intrigued by the premise, this book was cluttered with too many meaningless examples of friendships ending in silence.
Amanda Fack
Liz Pryor shows a lot of potential with her considerate writing and ability to collect interesting stories. Perhaps I expected something more prescriptive from this book; I thought it would offer more solutions, while seem the author lingers long on the problems. From the beginning, we are given the premise that there should be blatant spoken/written closure to every ended friendship, and I never felt completely onboard with Pryor about this. However, it is easy to read and comforting. Better o...more
Mandy Brazee
This was a really interesting book on a subject that doesn't seem to receive much attention: break-ups of female friendships. She talks about the sympathy women get when a romantic relationship ends and that there are normative behaviors that are expected to occur (such as a formal break-up, not just one disappearing on the other) and that this does not seem to apply to female friendships. It was a thoughtful look at friendships and offered tips on how to exit one gracefully. I found her insight...more
Shelli added it
May 07, 2014
This book sheds light on a topic that isn't talked about much, women walking away from their friendships with other women. I would recommend this book to any woman who has ever been "dumped" and didn't know why. It's interesting that we, as women, often take the easy way out, instead of sticking with a friendship that's messy, or time consuming, or just not convenient. I think that honesty in relationships, even though it might hurt, is better than just walking away and saying nothing.
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