Whether it's virtual or in-person, book clubs have become cool again. As Oprah relaunched her book club and several other celebrities are following suit (we're talking to you, Reese Witherspoon!), young women are starting to form their own.
But for the women who still haven't bought into the hype, here are FIVE reasons to consider joining a book club (even if you're not a big "reader"!):
1. It’s a way to meet new friends without the awkwardness.
One of the challenges of making a new friend is the initial moments when you’re working to find common interests, desperate to discover a shared hobby or experience. But when you’re in a book club with other women, the book is your conversation buffer! There’s no need to ask several primer questions to get a talk going because you can jump right into discussing whether or not you enjoyed the book and which characters were “the absolute worst”. The book you read together is the ultimate conversation-starter—“small talk” crisis averted.
2. The repetition forms real relationships.
One of the key ingredients to building friendships with other women is repeated exposure. Most book clubs meet every month, and seeing the same women over and over builds the kind of repetition necessary to breed familiarity. It puts you in a consistent position to follow-up, asking “Hey, how did the job interview go?” and “Did you find the bridesmaid dress you were looking for?” and “Is your dog feeling any better?” The reason people tend to get close to co-workers is not necessarily because they’re so compatible, but simply out of proximity and consistency. A book club offers both.
3. It’s a good way reveal the real you, which attracts the RIGHT people.
When talking about a book, it's expected that you won't agree on everything: the characters' choices, the way the author concluded the story, whether or not is was a good read overall. Book club is a safe space to exercise the muscle of disagreeing with other women while still remaining close, because you’re speaking about something that’s not personal. Sharing differing opinions about a book you all read not only makes discussion more lively, but it’s good practice in a world that needs more women who can (respectfully and) courageously voice their opinions, no matter how unpopular. And when you push back against the group consensus, it can make you memorable, interesting, and show the beautiful ways in which you think differently. The right people will respect (and be attracted to) that. Win-win.
4. Books are shared experiences; shared experiences bring people together.
Going through something with someone brings you closer together. Shared experiences really are a key component of friendship-making. Any true "reader" knows that a book is an experience: the emotions you go through as the story progresses; the ways in which various parts resonate with you personally; the way the author prompts you to rethink the world you live in. This is all an experience. And to know that you shared that particular experience with the women in the group can be really bonding.
You know how you instantly feel close to a woman who reveals that she’s obsessed with the same TV show you love? Yeah. That’s what book club does. As you talk about the book with other women, you’ll find yourself bonding over the smallest things: shared love for the main character, similar emotional responses to the ending—or heck, even a mutual hatred for the book altogether. We need these small but mighty commonalities, because shared experiences bring people closer together. Reading a book together can be the ultimate shared experience.
5. People who belong to groups are happier than those who don’t.
When you form your book club, discussion over the texts will undoubtedly lead to personal conversation on everything from romantic relationships to desires to failures and disappointments. And during that kind of vulnerable discussion, before you know it, those women become your people.
A recent study reveals that people who identify with a group report overall higher life satisfaction. One of our most basic sociological needs is to belong—being a part of a book club is one beautiful way to satisfy that desire.
The next time you think to yourself, "I need some new girlfriends" or "I'm feeling a little lonely and want to get connected," consider a book club. It's proven to connect you to other women and give you a sense of belonging all while reading some pretty good books.
And hey, if you aren't a "reader". then hop on over to Audible and listen to the book during your long work commute. We promise the other girls won't even know.
Danielle Jackson, Friendship Coach and Speaker
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