Best friend, old friend, good friend, bff, college roommate, neighbor, workplace confidante: Women’s friendships are a lifeline in times of trouble and a support system for daily life. A friend can be like a sister, daughter, mother, mentor, therapist, or confessor—or she can be all of these at once. She’s seen you at your worst and celebrates you at your best. Figuring out what it means to be friends is, in the end, no less than figuring out how we connect to other people.
In this illuminating and validating new book, Deborah Tannen deconstructs the ways women friends talk and how those ways can bring friends closer or pull them apart. From casual chatting to intimate confiding, from talking about problems to telling what you had for dinner, Tannen uncovers the patterns of communication and miscommunication that affect friendships at different points in our lives. She shows how even the best of friends—with the best intentions—can say the wrong thing, and how words can repair the damage done by words. Through Tannen’s signature insight, humor, and ability to present pitch-perfect real-life dialogue, readers will see themselves and their friendships on every page. The book explains
• The power of women friends who show empathy, give advice—or just listen
• How women use talk to connect to friends—and to subtly compete
• How “Fear of Being Left Out” and “Fear of Getting Kicked Out” can haunt women’s friendships
• How social media is reshaping communication and relationships
Drawing on interviews with eighty women of diverse backgrounds, ranging in age from nine to ninety-seven, You’re the Only One I Can Tell gets to the heart of women’s friendships—how they work or fail, how they help or hurt, and how we can make them better.
Deborah Tannen is the acclaimed author of You Just Don't Understand, which was on the New York Times bestseller list for nearly four years, the New York Times bestsellers You're Wearing THAT? on mother-daughter communication and You Were Always Mom's Favorite! about sisters, and many other books. A professor of linguistics at Georgetown University, she appears frequently on national television and radio. She lives with her husband in the Washington, D.C., area.
This warm, wise exploration of female friendship from the #1 bestselling author of You Just Don't Understand will help women lean into these powerful relationships.