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Dumped: Stories of Women Unfriending Women

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There are 161 million women in America today, and our friendships are still as primary and universal as back when Ruth and Naomi, Elizabeth and Susan B., Lucy and Ethel, and Thelma and Louise made history. And that s what makes being dumped by a woman friend so excruciating: you expect romantic relationships to break up eventually but you don t expect it from your friendships. And when it happens, you feel as though there should be an Adele song for you but there isn t. Dumped: Women Unfriending Women fills that void, exploring the universal experience of being discarded by those from whom you expected more. The essays in Dumped aren t stories of friendship dying a mutually agreed upon death, or of falling out of touch and reconnecting years later to find you haven t missed a beat. These are stories by established and emerging authors who, like you, may have found themselves erased, without context. These, like your own, are stories that stay with you, maybe for a lifetime."

217 pages, Paperback

First published March 3, 2015

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Nina Gaby

4 books1 follower

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 43 reviews
Profile Image for Lisa Rose.
Author 2 books8 followers
April 2, 2015
When I first came upon this title on a Facebook feed, I stopped in my digital tracks. Did I really want to read about and wallow in the breakup of "besties?" Since childhood, I've had best friends who were closer to me than sisters or spouses. For women, best friends are another kind of "significant other," and when you lose your best friend, the grief is as debilitating as a death in the family. However, when such a relationship comes to its often mystifying end, no one brings you a casserole, sends you a sympathy card, or takes you out to laugh about how you're better off now. You're left floating alone on your wreck, drifting out to sea on an undertow of dread that you are somehow flawed, otherwise your best friend wouldn't have dumped you. And the truth is, now you ARE damaged--because your best friend dumped you.

Women's monumental friendships are given cultural mole-hill status. Therefore, we speak little of our losses and aren't sure how to handle ourselves, let alone comfort a friend who's going through it. When you lose a best friend, you've lost the very person who would've helped you put your shattered self back together and helped you comprehend the incomprehensible. The research, Gaby tells us in the introduction, shows that when a best friend erases you, you find yourself "without context, possibly without worth." You suffer "ensuing depression and isolation." And that is why this is such an important book.

Remembering the lonely aftermath of bestie-loss, I ordered the book. I'm glad did. I kept company with twenty-five awesome essayists confiding about best friends loved and lost. I'm grateful to the brave Nina Gaby for putting this nerve-rattling collection together. Lindsey Kemp curdled my blood with "The Hate Note." In "A Snowball's Chance," the candid and kind Penny Guisinger swept me back to my days as a young mother trying to balance parenting, partnership, and friendships that "sparkle." Melody Breyer-Grell in "Just Say No" let me hang out in the dog park sharing snarky comments and puzzling over what could've gone so wrong. I read them all, and if you ever loved and lost a best friend, so should you.

The collection helped me understand that these losses really are as tragic as they feel, and yes, I am inherently flawed, but so were my friends, and so are we all. Like any good literature, DUMPED increased my store of gratitude and wisdom, helping me forgive my dumpers, forgive myself for getting dumped, and forgive myself for having dumped a few in turn.
Profile Image for Kathleen Kelly.
1,347 reviews115 followers
May 7, 2015
Dumped: Stories of Women Unfriending Women I have never been dumped by a female friend as I really don't have any, I have been dumped by female family members for sure. Close female family, not because they moved away as children do but by a mother and sometimes it feels that my siblings have done that. Everyone has lives and these lives may create distances from them.
With that said, Dumped, is a book with stories from celebrated women authors who have experienced what it is like to be "dumped" by a female friend, whether by a note, an email or a face to face confrontation. Laced with humor and heartbreak, these are stories that all women should read. The stories are eye opening in that they tell the reader about lost friendships, betrayals and how these women overcame the loss of these relationships that are gone. I think as we get older we look back and think about how these kind of relationships that we no longer have as a very important part of our lives and how we even lived our lives after that point.
After reading this book of essays by women it may a lesson learned on how to treat our female friends and maybe rethink the reason why we may dump a close friend, giving us in insight on how we would also want to be treated. People always move on for many different reasons but a healthy relationship with another woman is a remarkable thing. This is an important book and I will be sharing this book for sure.
Profile Image for Jenny.
108 reviews8 followers
February 27, 2015
We often look back on relationships, especially those from grade school through high school, and wonder what happened or how you survived or what awesome memories. Dumped fills a void of topics we often discuss on the edge but not wholly and honestly. Looking forward to visiting with my book club about this treat. An interesting/insightful read if you are willing to look within yourself.

Thanks to JKSCommunications for sharing with me and my book club!
Profile Image for Lindsay.
418 reviews4 followers
June 24, 2023
An excellent compilation of stories about friendships lost and broken. Honestly a balm when you’re going through the same thing.
Profile Image for Meghan.
1,329 reviews38 followers
June 16, 2015
3.5. One essay said of the experience of being shouted at and shoved by a former friend, "I felt like a rape victim" which I thought was a little beyond the pale. Readable and insightful, although the first set of essays about school and cliques and friendship groups was the strongest, just because the experiences are so formative and scarring.
1,098 reviews4 followers
July 11, 2016
Lots of stories about women who were unfriended and, generally, not clear on what exactly had happened. Would have been nice to have complimentary stories from women who did the unfriending and what those circumstances were.

Profile Image for Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader.
2,180 reviews30.5k followers
January 13, 2017
Highly readable and relatable stories about the endings of friendships for women; an important read for women as I don't hear this talked about often, though I know it happens. Thanks to the editor, Nina Gaby, I won a copy of this book. My opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Allegra S.
627 reviews9 followers
February 14, 2016
"The initial shock when you are betrayed quickly turns into a feeling of heat-wrenching and heavy sadness, followed by an infinite stream of questions that begin with why.” - Breaking Omertà, Alexandria Goddard

“Her silence is loud, it breaks my heart.” - Ann Hood

This is an incredible set of essays. Though some I have rated some individual essays as less than 5/5, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts and this book deserves 5 stars. Many angles, perspectives, and demographics are investigated all along the theme of girl friends unfriending each other. Removing one essay would not make the book any better. Nina Gaby did a great job putting together these essays, I only wish she had included a section where women told the stories from the perspective of being the 'unfriender'. If you've ever lost a friendship, these stories will warm your heart. I also plan on looking up many of these authors that I hadn't discovered before! Individual reviews of essays below.

Part One: When the Herd Turns

The Hate Note 5/5
Wow, it’s like you never do know why these things happened. This essay was on point. A girl gets a hate note signed by everyone in her class, the next year befriends a new girl. New girl dumps her when they’re in their 20s and when she sees her at a reunion, pretends that nothing is wrong.

Off the Line 3/5
So sad, seemed unrealistic though and she kept repeating herself.

High school never ends 4/5
Wow, the stuff that happened years ago and she’s never gotten over it. Great writing, but there was a real lack of conclusion at the end.

Breaking Omertà 5/5
“Betrayal is a difficult emotion to put into words. Someone gets pissed off at you and throws a knife in your back. That’s the quick and easy explanation, but how do you describe in words how that makes your heart feel? The initial shock when you are betrayed quickly turns into a feeling of heat-wrenching and heavy sadness, followed by an infinite stream of questions that begin with why.”

This one was really powerful to me as I am a leader in certain fields and am worried that one day that my friends could exploit my trust. This was really sad, but it was nice to see the author stay strong, not retaliate, and move on, despite the terrible circumstances.

Literary Lessons and a Circle of Crones 4/5
This one is written at a much slower pace than the others, but ended up being excellent. It’s clear from this story that unfriending is not immune to aging, however I loved that the author was able to find meaning and also see what part she had played in the unfriending. Her rationale was that she was being too demanding on her friends, but ultimately the unfriending was a “void created for reasons known only to them”. It makes me wonder if there were subtle clues along the way or do you really need to be guarded about who you have deep friendships with.

Sealed with a Kiss 3/5
This was a good one to include because sometimes it’s more about the other person than you, and you both move on.

Part Two: It’s not always about you

Keeping Secrets 4/5
Someone who’s dealt with it well and did the right thing in my eyes. And it still didn’t work out, because it wasn’t about her. Bloody awful about the friend and her family though.

All Talk and Trousers 2/5
Skimmed this one, it didn’t really work for me. I don’t really like the stories with no resolution. Surely this must have bothered her in the future?

Foundation 4/5
This one adds a good bit of diversity to the mix. Sometimes people just shouldn’t be friends and that’s ok!

The Professional Critic 4/5
Very poetic, short and sweet. Sometimes you need to be glad a friendship is over!

Boring Baby 4/5
This was great, these last few have been pretty short. Sometimes people grow apart and it hurts a little, but it’s better if you realize what’s happening.

Part Three: Blurred Lines

After Criselda 2/5
Didn’t resonate with me and I didn’t like the way the story was paced.

Cahier de Fabienne 4/5
Sometimes you can’t do anything about it! Jealousy, or the fact that you are not as important in someone's life anymore. Sometimes others are bad at handling it and don't know how to be graceful.

A Snowball’s Chance 3/5
Was much longer than the other ones, but definitely relatable jealousy issues about relationships and snooping around.

Just Say No 3/5
Sometimes you have to ask yourself, if someone is ready to put tons of friendship efforts into you, then why don’t they have any other friends? Sometimes it’s more to do with the other person.

Ten Days 4/5
Wtf? Wtf happened at the end? What? The girl fell off a mountain and you left her to die?? I would unfriend you too! This was probably metaphorical.

Part Four: Women Remember

This is how I lost her 5/5
Wonderfully written!! “Her silence is loud, it breaks my heart.” So interesting. Sometimes people just don’t have enough in common. One of the themes that keeps coming up is how people just don’t have things in common, their friends are duds, not wanting to explore or develop as people. But they’re just nosy enough to want to check in on your life. Or, perhaps she found the responsibility of helping her grieving friend too demanding and knew instead of failing she’d just move on.

Never Can Say Good-bye 4/5
A good perspective on why dumping can be a good thing

Since I Don’t Have you 4/5
“And while you may be busier than you ever were before or will be again, the streams leaping with potential intimates - on the soccer sidelines, in college classes, and in new jobs - have simply dried up. Everyone else, for better or worse, already has her friendship cadre. There isn’t time to raise a friendship from a seedling to a mighty oak. Unless you are very lucky or persistent, getting to know anyone that intimately, without that shared history, from scratch, may now be impossible.”
“Some friendships die by negligent homicide.”
Be more proud of being a friend than of having them. Listen first, and listen well.

I Hate your Boyfriend 5/5
So interesting. The idea that maybe your friend was ‘faking it’ when they were pretending to have things in common with you. Abusive relationship.

Part Five: Making Sense of It

Notes on Being Dumped: Aid for the Perplexed 3/5
Not sure what to think about this one, it didn’t really tell much of a story.

Bridezilla or Chill Bride? Which one are you? Take this quiz to find out! 2/5
Most of the others have been stories about one incident, but this one was a bit broader and I felt that it dragged a bit in comparison. However, I really like the points about fight or flight and not being able to deal with conflict.

Maybe After December 4/5
When the other person says they want to catch up again and don’t really mean it.

Out of the Blue 4/5
You don’t need to figure out the reason, but it is disappointing.

Simple Geometry: The Art of War for Girls 2/5
More highbrow and literary than the others. I didn't enjoy it as much, but I commend her ability to put together this book.

I can't wait to read this again!
Profile Image for Barbara Stark-Nemon.
Author 2 books63 followers
March 29, 2015
Nina Gaby’s collection of essays Dumped: Stories of Women Unfriending Women is as direct and unsparing about women’s capacity to cruelly leave each other’s friendships as the title suggests. What the fascinating voices represented in these stories deliver is a chorus of shock and attendant feelings of betrayal, isolation, self-doubt and intense pain that are common to nearly every one of the women’s experiences. Gaby makes a clear distinction between friendships that dissipate over time and distance in a “natural” way, and those that are abruptly ended by one side, most often for reasons that remain unexplained and never understood. The essay contributors, as Gaby aptly states in her acknowledgments are “gifted writers…who so honestly, and with such grace, humor, and hard-won answers, joined.. in exploring the often frail and unfathomable nature of friendship.” One has to add that Gaby, as editor, brilliantly tapped and ordered these strong and varied voices to sustain the reader through this engaging book.
April 3, 2015
I found out about this book through another book blogger and immediately contacted the publisher to ask for a review copy. Thankfully, they obliged!

I enjoy non-fiction reads from time-to-time, and I particularly enjoy essay style books in a similar vein to Chicken Soup for the Soul. That's exactly what you'll get from Dumped. I loved the idea behind this book, I thought there were a lot of strong stories in this compilation and I think it would make a great read for any female who has been dumped, or been the dumper, in their female friendships.

Check out the full review here:
Profile Image for Nancy.
589 reviews15 followers
September 19, 2015
This is a collection of essays/stories by women writers about being dumped by women friends. When I saw the book on the shelf, I thought, Well, that hasn't really happened to me, but I bet those stories are interesting. The very first story was taken almost exactly from my life in the second grade! Other stories brought back other memories, and made me reflect on what we need and expect from friends and what it takes to maintain relationships when needs and expectations can't be met. . .
Profile Image for Lisa.
Author 6 books6 followers
February 24, 2015
I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.
A series of essays on women being dumped by their female friends. Many of the stories had me going " I know how she feels!" All of them were good even though I felt a couple didn't really belong but I still enjoyed those as well. This is a must read for women.
Profile Image for CassandraG.
611 reviews
March 9, 2015

There were high school friends that turn out to be not friends. Long-time friends that lost communication but eventually reconnected only to lose that connection again and a few other ones that were a really nice short collection of stories and some of the stories were a little sad, but some were quite humorous too and you could easily relate to them. So if you get a chance check them out.
Profile Image for Laurie Prim.
66 reviews1 follower
March 27, 2016
A collection of first-hand accounts of being unfriended, and not the Facebook kind. More like being full-on, unceremoniously discarded by someone from whom you never in a million years expected it. It happened to me last year, but I never knew it happened frequently enough to be a “thing.” Sad, but it’s always nice to know you’re not alone.
Profile Image for Yaakov.
361 reviews
March 14, 2023
Finally finished - worth the read

I started this a year ago and finally wandered back to it. I’m glad I did. It’s been years since my worst dumping by a friend but it still stings and these stories resonated. No advice, just a collection of stories about the complex nature of friendships and equally complex nature of grieving them.
Profile Image for Linda.
88 reviews2 followers
May 17, 2021
Having been recently “dumped” by a girlfriend, this book to me at the right time. I felt I was going through a grieving process and to hear the stories of women that have been in my situation and to know I wasn’t alone and that a girlfriend breakup can be as hard as a romantic breakup was comforting and has help me process.
Profile Image for René.
173 reviews2 followers
June 16, 2015
Last essay in the collection was the best--the one by Nina Gaby (the editor). Tempted to give this one more star only because Gaby's essay tied everything together so well. Would like to read more by her specifically.
Profile Image for Chelsea Downey.
620 reviews20 followers
May 1, 2022
I wish I remembered where I found this collection listed, because I need more writing like this in my life. Not only do I want to read more short stories, but I love the honest and unique (yet relatable) words of other women.

We've all been dumped. Or been the dumper. In love, maybe, in friendship most definitely. Female friendship has always been set apart as a special relationship, but not always given then credit it deserves.

I've recently (and not so recently) lost friends in my life. Some through my own fault, and I was given some reasons. Others just cut off contact. No warning, no explanation. It hurts, and inspires self-reflection. I believe I've grown, but still miss those friends.

These stories are wide-ranging in nature. Small towns, new friends, friends-to-lovers, silly fights that snowballed, and outside influences. Many were touching and others bewildering. I'd recommend pacing yourself and taking a minute to sit with the stories. How can you be a better friend?
Profile Image for Marisa.
172 reviews
January 4, 2021
Finally finished this recommendation from awhile back. I love reading compilations of other people's stories. This one was great because it's on a topic of pain & grief related to friendships, which is largely ignored by our culture; if for nothing else it's so reassuring to read other people's similar experiences and know you're not crazy.

"I'd never been dumped with such finality. Actually, I'd never been dumped before. Okay, by boyfriends, but that was to be expected. Yes, friends had drifted away, but we were both aware of the shift. This time, it came out of the blue. I wonder what I did. Or maybe what I didn't do? I know one thing: I'll never figure it out. And I realize I don't have to." yes girl, yes
Profile Image for Story Circle Book Reviews.
636 reviews61 followers
March 9, 2015
Until I read this book, I would have told you I'd been dumped. But in these pages the distinction between friendships that just fade away and those that involve dumping is very clear. What I have known in my life is friendships that slowly disappeared, mostly because other people moved away. There have been some where our interests slowly diverged and we lost touch, though we remain cordial on the occasional accidental meeting. The best advice in those cases is to treasure the memories. But dumped is a whole different thing. I have never been dumped.

Being dumped involves the cruel verbal confrontation or written note that says, in effect, "I don't want to be your friend anymore." In one instance here, a high school boy (must have been dimwitted) is the messenger for a group of girls: he delivers the dumpee's first kiss (rather woodenly) and then says, "F*&% off." High school girls can be among the cruelest. Dumping may also involve that sudden, unexplained silence: the refusal to return phone calls or emails, to communicate in any way. The dumpee is left, sometimes desperately, trying to figure out what she did wrong. Note that is almost always the conclusion, "What did I do wrong?" While I was reading this, there was a Facebook post, with a picture of Madelyn Albright, about how women must support women. In the discussion thread I mentioned that I was reading this book, and several women responded that they could never read it. They had been dumped, and reading the book would bring back the pain.

I believe however that they are the very women who should read this book, for insight into what happened to them and what happens all too often to too many women. Yes, there is a world of hurt in these pages, but there is also a world of insight. All women, dumped or not, should take another look at themselves within the context of these pages. Can they really share? Are they doing their part to nourish a relationship?

Most women recognize that friendship with other women is good for mental and physical health. We often enter into these relationships hopefully, feeling that we have found a soul mate, one who understands better even than the men in our lives. But too often these relationships end in disaster. Dumped is a collection of essays or short memoirs of women whose experiences with relationships with other women range from unsatisfactory to devastating, the latter being the most common. The essays are all retrospective, when the writer has had time look back at the experience, evaluate it in the context of maturity gained over the years. And yet many of them are still devastating, some chronicling the dissolution of friendships that had been long, deep, and close. The first few essays are about high school life, and there I found a thread that to me ran through the book: the dumpee thought of herself as not quite adequate—not cool enough, not attractive, desperate for friends. She is a timid, passive girl who almost wears a "kick me" sign on her back. Like a self-fulfilling prophecy, she is dumped.

In the second section, the collection moves on to more mature women—indeed, it seems to move chronologically by age. But even in young adults, we as readers find that women's relationships are much more complicated than men's...and hence the dumping is much more difficult. Issues of trust and naiveté rear their heads.

In these pages there are so many different cases of dumping that my head still spins. The woman whose husband was having an emotional if not physical affair with her best friend. Realizing her marriage is over anyway, she begins a long-desired affair with another woman but tries to maintain the friendship with her former best friend, only to meet with solid rejection. Or the woman whose ten-year-old daughter had died; one day, desperate, she calls her best friend to come be with her, only to be met with, "No, not today. I can't. I'll call in a couple of days." Of course the call never comes. The young girl who had such a close identity with her BFF that she felt she had no identity of her own; when the BFF falls down an icy hill, the girl just walks the other way and goes home. Women who dump are unbelievably unfeeling. It's a relief to read the words of one who says she has a friend who really needs to be dumped—but she doesn't have the heart to do it. It she ever did, the other woman would always take a portion of her heart.

Dumped offers no easy answer, provides no solutions for either the dumper or the dumpee. What it does suggest is to look carefully at yourself and your relationships—are you feeding off the other one too much; do you see yourself as less than desirable as a friend; are you overlay grateful for friendship. If you trust, do you place your trust in the right woman?

I won't say this is pleasant reading, but it's important and can lead each of us, as women, to a better understanding of ourselves and of those we're close to.

I have to counterbalance the concept of dumping by reminding that there are friendships that remain solid and true in spite of time and distance. Some bonds cannot be broken.

by Judy Alter
for Story Circle Book Reviews
reviewing books by, for, and about women
1 review
March 24, 2019
Helps with perspective

Good read. Really helped me see different perspectives on the end of a friendship. Some of the stories gave me different ways of thinking about things. Can help you realize that it has happened to others.
Profile Image for Zev.
667 reviews2 followers
January 17, 2018
I expected something different from this book somehow. Oh well.
Profile Image for Miranda.
147 reviews16 followers
January 25, 2020
~ 3.5 ~
Favorite Quotes:
"Friendship for me is made from a tapestry of personalities, each of whom shares a part of all I care about." (pg. 160)

[In reference to her father saying "Catch-22 was truth revealed."]
"I had no idea what he was talking about, which is what happens when you read Great Books before you've had Life Experience." (pg. 174)
68 reviews1 follower
January 11, 2017
I enjoyed this book very much. The stories were thoughtful and well written.
Profile Image for Roxanne Kade.
Author 2 books70 followers
March 6, 2015
The bond between two friends is very powerful, so when one just ups and leaves without a valid reason why, it can be heartbreaking and emotional, even more so than when a romantic relationship. I'm lucky enough to not have suffered anything to drastic like completely losing a friend but I remember a time in high school when my girls decided I'd done something wrong and shunned me for an entire week. It felt dreadful and lonely.

This book shares stories of different types of "break-ups". Some shocking, some funny, and others that had me thinking "WOW! You are so lucky to dodged that friendship bullet, because it probably would have been your downfall." I was quite surprised to see that unfriending spanned many generations of women, proving that no matter what age, woman can be bitchy and completely forget the need for lasting female companionship. I would have thought that as we aged so we better understood each other, but that was not the case.

This book was enlightening and has increased my appreciation of the spectacular, beautiful women in my life. I cherish their friendship and I'm so happy that we've stayed strong through all the ups and downs, and when things go bad we communicate and get over it. My heart goes out to each and every one of the authors in this book who shared their anguish and heartbreak. You are all wonderful woman who deserve to be cherished just as much.
854 reviews45 followers
March 6, 2015
Have you ever been dumped by a friend? Maybe you never found out why. Maybe you knew why...but she wouldn't return your calls or let you apologize. Maybe she just vanished. All of these examples of real-life situations are explored in Dumped.

I was excited to read this book because, quite frankly, I have been dumped by a friend and that hurts. I think all women at some point in their life, have lost friendships without knowing exactly why. We'll never be inside someone else's head, or know what makes them tick, which makes their behavior difficult to figure out, to say the least. Especially when it comes to female relationships.

I found Dumped to be such a relevant book for today's times. Women of any age can relate to these stories: from being unfriended in grade school, high school, college and beyond. It seems to me that the older I get, the more it hurts to lose a friend, and this theme was echoed in the stories I read.

The stories are all written by different authors---which gives the book a very fresh feel. Since the narrative changes with each chapter, and the circumstances change as well, it keeps the book feeling new with each new essay.

Dumped: Women Unfriending Women is a heartfelt, relevant read, and I would definitely recommend it.
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