Kate Leaver is an author, journalist and a friendship expert! Before moving to the UK from Australia Kate wrote for free, for the UK Huffington Post building a portfolio of articles and leveraging this to find paid work over here when it came time to emigrate. Kate’s book ‘The Friendship Cure’ explores many types of friendship; types that quite honestly, I had never considered before, like toxic friends!
They say you are the sum of the five people closest to you and this episode may help you re-evaluate your circle! For the record; we think this is one of the best episodes we’ve done. Kate is amazing. Enjoy!
“If you’re happy to do something for your own purposes and it happens to be unpaid; fantastic, go for your life! I just think, especially if someone is charging money for the tickets to come to that event, and then the speakers are on for free then it’s all a bit dodgy and I’d like to see a bit of a shift in the way we think about reimbursing people for their time.”
“It basically prompted me to go into a year-long binge of research and the more research I did, the more alarmed and comforted I was because I would find this harrowing statistic or story about loneliness and the loneliness epidemic in which we live but the equally and slightly more cheerfully I would find some fantastic scientific fact about how great friendship is for our physical and mental health and wellbeing”
“I think people should do a fairly regular audit of their social circles and work out who belongs there and who doesn’t. And it does sound quite harsh and I do also kind of advocate for people actually breaking up with their friends and informing them that they no longer want to be friends// I think it’s ultimately a greater kindness than just ghosting them or disappearing.”
“I do recommend that people ask themselves should I still be friends with these people, becase I think we all hold on bad friends, toxic friends, friends who are no good for us. Out of fear of social rejection and being alone, out of complacency, out of laziness, and I think we should be surrounding ourselves with the people who lift us up and make us want to be the best versions of ourselves. And I think if you’re not doing that then why are you holding on to this friendship?”
“The sorts of signs of a toxic friend are someone who sort of alternates between great warmth and generosity and love and then harshness and coldness and hostility, without much warning about which version of that person you’re going to get. Someone who love bombs you with gestures of affection and really tries to charm you and almost seduce you, in a friendship way. But then will withdraw and disappear and get angry when you can’t make a particular date or you don’t appreciate a particular gift enough. Someone who undermines your confidence. Someone who gaslights you. Someone who insults you. Someone who picks on you for your weight but does it in such a way that you think it’s a joke and you’re worried about whether you’re taking it too personally and you start to doubt yourself. Basically, someone who is slowly, or perhaps not even slowly, chipping away at your sense of who you are and your sense of safety in this world. And I think we don’t talk about the fact that friends are just as capable of doing that as a romantic partner or in fact a boss or a family member.”
“As children, all boys, and all girls,// crave those delicate, sensitive friendships and then for some reason when we get to teenage years we start socially conditioning our boys to be stoic and to be dignified and to be masculine and manly above sensitive and delicate. And they believe that they’re not entitled to those sort of friendships anymore and it becomes this more ‘blokey’ exchange of banter.”
“I have some really close male friends, I mean, several of whom I’ve accidentally kissed on a drunken night, but we move past that and I can’t imagine my life without them and they bring to me something that my girlfriends don’t and they encourage me to be bolder and more confident in a kind of male way and I think about my life in a different way when I’m with my male friends.”