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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

3.59  ·  Rating details ·  371 Ratings  ·  74 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 20, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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 rated it really liked it
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
May 21, 2016 rated it did not like it
I mentioned to a friend that I was having problems with a friend I had from childhood and that I thought it was really time to end the friendship, but I didnt know how. She said that while she had never read this book herself, she thought it would relate.

First off, this book is story after story of how to end a friendship. It doesnt really offer much advice except in a few random situations. But there was a passage that really disturbed me, then another shortly after.

Around page 102 or 103, Li
Oct 29, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: life
I really don't know why I felt compelled to pick up this book, but it wouldn't leave me alone in the library, so I got it, and then I couldn't stop reading it. I hope this isn't foreshadowing that I'm about to lose a good friend--I don't think I could take that right now.

I guess what I really couldn't resist was finding out why people do this, even though I actually know what happened the two times it's happened to me. But of course, the author can't really tell you that specifically. Just gener
Mar 30, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Sep 25, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Whenever I see a post or a comment saying, “Am I the only one who...?” or “It’s probably just me, but...” I always feel a righteous anger seasoned with derision. “NO, you are NOT the only one!” I tend to yell at my screen. Humanity’s obsession with individuality, and the strongly American “special snowflake” ideal runs rife through the way we think about ourselves and others. I like to think that I am uniquely aware of this situation (funny about that) and can’t help but feel slightly superior t ...more
Mar 02, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
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
Nov 10, 2014 rated it liked it
Ironically, I am a Women's Studies major, but I don't understand women. Nor have I ever connected truly with any of them, despite lifelong proclamations of "Best Friends Forever!," a sentiment that, I promise you, never comes true.

I have depression, something that, admittedly, has constantly come between me and my ability to hold a friendship. This book doesn't address that, but I picked it up anyway, hoping that some light would be shed on why, quite honestly, at least half of women suck.

Liz P
Oct 28, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Jonna Higgins-Freese
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
Dec 10, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: lifehacks
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
Lara Mckee
Jan 16, 2014 rated it it was ok
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
Aug 27, 2008 rated it really liked it
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."
Catherine Faulkenburg
Super fast read that really doesn't give many answers but has a lot of stories to make it identifiable. Published before Facebook became so prevalent I think that would make it really interesting to research in the advent of social media. Also, the author speaks of her husband so lovingly it makes me wonder why they got divorced.
Mar 24, 2014 rated it it was ok
Though I was intrigued by the premise, this book was cluttered with too many meaningless examples of friendships ending in silence.
Aug 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Really liked this book. I realize I am not the only one who felt completely devastated after my best friend of 20+ years ended the friendship. I have been without my friend for 5 years now. I recommend this book to anyone dealing with the loss of a friendship, you are not alone as you think you are.
Mar 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
After going through a really hard friend breakup a few months ago, I was really happy to see that someone has actually written a book on the subject. When you lose a friend it's heartbreaking and just about as bad as if a significant other broke up with you. It was nice to read other people's stories to help cope and not feel so alone in all this.
May 24, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  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
Apr 07, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
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
May 17, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2010-books
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
Heather B
Jul 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
May 10, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
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
Oct 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
This book was all about the ending of female friendships. Girlfriends can be very close, and the relationship can be even more important than any male partner. However, girls will always break up with guys, even if the relationship has only lasted a month. When female friendships end, it may never be addressed. One decides she does not want to continue to put her energy into the friendship and tries to slowly back away, leaving the deserted confused and upset because her best friend isn't answer ...more
May 22, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Aug 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
"Ironically, the norm for ending women's friendships seems to be, if we care deeply avoid; if we don't care at all, confront!"
It's weird to be at my age and still feel completely hurt and questioning who I am, what I did or said wrong, when a friendship ends. This book made me realize that these feelings are completely normal, and that many MANY women go through these awful 'break-ups' with friends.
I mentioned that I was reading this book at a mom's group just this morning and both other women
Jul 20, 2016 rated it did not like it
Pryor says she was inspired to write this book after being dumped by a friend, and hoo boy, can you tell. Her attitude towards the "initiators" of BFF-dumping, despite being the initiator herself multiple times in her life, is defensive in a way that feels very desperate and raw.

The way the book is pitched implies that Pryor will provide answers: to the myriad reasons a friendship might grow apart, how to tell if it's time to end it, how to go about actually ending it if it's time, how to rebuil
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“Dr. Jan Yager, a sociologist, friendship expert and author of When Friendship Hurts, states, “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.” 0 likes
“It appears that very few women can just move through the end of a friendship, without a struggle. Most appear to need to consciously put together a game plan to recover from the breakup and help them to move on. Terry Miller Shannon, a journalist, writes in an article titled “Friends Forever?”: “If you’re not the one ending the friendship, it feels like an elephant stomped your heart into a billion bleeding pieces.” 0 likes
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