The Friendship Upgrade

Trade Clickable Connections for Friendships that Matter

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Who is The Friendship Upgrade For? 

This nonfiction book of stories and strategies is an easy-to-follow guide for finding and growing meaningful friendships.

Many men have found meaning, insights, and perspective here, but The Friendship Upgrade is primarily geared toward women. It is my connection playbook and heartfelt message to women who dream of upgrading their “clickable connections,” nurturing more face-to-face friendships, and building mutual support systems within their communities.

We've grown disconnected. Many of us walk amongst strangers as we tally up Facebook friends— the new collectible you don't have to dust—and settle for "Let’s do coffee soon!" It's far easier for an adult woman to find an online date than a real-life friend — even in her own neighborhood! The Friendship Upgrade illuminates the growing issue of personal isolation. It equips women to exchange clickable connections for in-person interactions. Through the deeply personal stories of real women, it examines our varied routes to isolation (divorce, empty nests, decreased mobility) as well as the impact of technology, efficiency focused living, and the patterned choices that mire us in chronic loneliness. More importantly, this book provides both a roadmap for finding anchored connections and a model for building community with our fellow, disconnected "no-please-after-you" women. Because the secret is this: most of them are silently hoping for you to extend a bridge and make a connection.

Women need friendship. Not in an unhealthy, cling-to-this-life-preserver sort of way, but in the organic, nurturing capacity of sunlight to a growing flower. In the right light, solid female friendships support our growth. They can even prop us up through major life transitions if need be. Strong friendships help us access our best selves. In doing so, they often lead to the realization that we’re actually far more valuable to this world than we previously dared to dream.

Indie Book Award — Self-Help
Reader's Favorite Bronze — Best Women's Non-Fiction
Best Books Awards Finalist — Best Self-Help Relationships
Zoom Into Books Author

Reader Reviews

Like Bowling Alone (2000) and the works of Brené Brown, this book sensitively probes the cultural factors that lead to feelings of isolation while advocating for vulnerability and letting go of shame. The book proposes concrete tips for overcoming indecision and inertia--what she calls "limbo-living"... Headed sections, sets of questions to ask oneself, and lists of positive and negative character traits to look for in potential friends add up to a well-structured and user-friendly text... Accessible, detailed advice for building authentic friendships.

Kirkus Reviews

The Friendship Upgrade will encourage readers to choose friendships, activities, and connections that will enhance their lives. The author tackles the topics in each section extensively, along with speaking about her personal stories and the personal experiences of many others to guide readers to look at their connections and wonder how connected they feel. The benefits of a good friendship shared between women are tangible ...for all those looking for respect, kindness, acceptance, inclusion, and a better life.

Readers' Favorite

My clients noted that after reading the book they became clearer about what they wanted in a friendship. While it’s fine to have many acquaintances, they are now focusing more on the quality of connection and reassessing friendships which have repeatedly disappointed them. It is a powerful book that leads a 69-year-old single woman to say, "Now I really have hope!" And not only hope but helpful tools to use in building a healthier connected

Amazon review (verified purchase)

My third time listening to this book! My takeaway was that good friends are important but spending time with them is essential. I laughed, identified, and learned the value of spending quality time with friends and finding others who share similar interest. I thought that my Isolation, complacency and putting my own life on the back burner would be tough habits to break. This author lived it, gets it, and broke the mold. My turn. Loved the book.

Audible audio book review (verified purchase)

I could pick up this book, flip to any page and find meaning. Heather has a way of identifying with you and identifying the issue you're dealing with, and then helping navigate that messiness. She's candid, but empathetic. I also downloaded the book (which she narrates). I like listening to the book and then marking up my printed copy. This is a great reference book for anytime I'm needing to reflect and make change. Highly recommend for anyone who is going through any sort of transition in their life and feeling a loss of self while doing it.

Amazon review (verified purchase)

Heather Dugan's book, The Friendship Upgrade is refreshingly real and witty. Dugan shares savvy wisdom and insight about how to build communities one relationship at a time and craft a life with meaning and purpose. I'm gifting it widely as a must-read for my friends and colleagues...

Caroline Dowd-Higgins; Executive Director of Career and Professional Development, Indiana University Alumni Association

Heather Dugan brings a rare combination of insight, passion, life experiences and exceptional communication skills to The Friendship Upgrade. This book will prove to be an excellent resource, not only for individuals hungry for meaningful connections but also for any organization that claims to care about people and the health and productivity of its work force.

Dennis Hetzel, Executive Director, Ohio Newspaper Association, Columbus Ohio; President, Ohio Coalition for Open Government; award-winning author of Killing the Curse and Season of Lies.

As an Executive in Human Resources, I find most of my professional energy spent on educating others about the nuances of meaningful relationship building. Most often, the primary impediment is a lack of self-awareness, but Heather Dugan has boiled that conundrum down in a way that anyone can understand and immediately begin to act upon. Plain and simple, this is a good read on both a personal and professional level for men and women alike.

Jim McGannon, Vice President, Human Resources & Organizational Development at Sarnova

Yes, this book is written with women in mind. But here’s the thing: The truths it conveys are relevant across the board. Everyone needs friends–feel, authentic, true friends—and Dugan goes as far as to dare the reader to seek them out. As she asserts, these relationships aren’t just a luxury. They are a necessity to living a healthy life of impact.

Good Reads reader review

One of the most important and valuable books I've read about relationship building.Reading Heather Dugan's new book, The Friendship Upgrade, I was immediately struck by how so many of the stories resembled my own. It was comforting for me to know that many others went through the life changes that had been, and were, affecting me. Chapter 7 was especially impactful. That feeling of abandonment, and working my way back from it, was particularly familiar and instructive.

Deb K.; Amazon review (verified purchase)

The Friendship Upgrade is a must read for any woman (or man) navigating a new life after divorce, and loss. When one finds themselves in a new "normal;" where the family nest has emptied and or a marriage has crumbled, you can feel isolated and reclusive. So many of Heather Dugan's stories and experiences mirror my own. When practicing "self-care" add the Friendship Upgrade to your arsenal of tools. I felt empowered and encouraged that loneliness does not have to be chronic. Heather's book provides the remedy and prescription on how to make lasting connections and nourishing friendships. I chose to listen to her book on Audible and at times laughed and cried as she took me along this journey. This is a book that makes an impact and a roadmap for life betterment!

Terri Williams; Amazon review (verified purchase)

Excellent guide to seeking and maintaining friendships! The Friendship Upgrade provides great insight on how to find and keep person-to-person connections. In the age of technology, we have many social media "friends," but maintaining in-person relationships is necessary. In a world of chaos, friends provide unwavering love and support. This book has also taught me how to be a better friend, opening up to others and re-establishing priorities. I highly recommend The Friendship Upgrade!

Christine; Amazon review (verified purchase)

Get periodic tips on how to build authentic connection in your day-to-day journey in addition to future free downloads!

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