Friendship is hard, especially as you get into your 20s, 30s, 40s, and beyond. As a young therapist, Gina Handley Schmitt was distressed by an encounter with a client whose close friendships had all faded away. Gina writes:
"This sweet client was to be the first of many who would sit on my therapy couch and confide in me their struggles to make meaningful, enduring friendship connections. Some of these clients had lost their connections over the years due to their changing life circumstances. Others had never developed these meaningful connections in the first place. But either way, one thing was the same: all of them were desperately wanting healthy, long-term friends—as I have come to believe most of us do.
The more this situation played itself out in my counseling practice, the more I realized that our society is experiencing a “crisis” of sorts. In fact, my research since then has revealed that 25% of adults report having zero trusted confidants. That is 1 in 4 people without a single person to share the most intimate parts of their lives with. One in four. I realized that this lack of meaningful, enduring friendship connections in our society seemed to be driving more and more people to my therapy couch in an attempt to fill this void. But for those who were lonely but could not afford therapy, I wondered what replacements they had chosen. These hard realities motivated me to think more seriously about how this had happened, what societal factors may have contributed, and what I might know that could help people struggling to make and keep adult friends."
The resulting book is Friending: Creating Meaningful, Lasting Adult Friendships. It's 192 pages, 5x8", and comes out on November 12, 2019. Kickstarter backers will get it a month early!
This book is for anyone who wants to be a better friend, make new friends, or troubleshoot and enhance the friendships you already have.
In this book, you'll learn:
- How to identify and reach out to potential new friends
- How to maintain long term friendships through busy times and life transitions
- When and how to state your needs and set boundaries with your friends
- Skills for strengthening your friendships by resolving conflicts
- The difficult art of ending a friendship
You'll do all this using the five core skills of being available, authentic, affirming, assertive, and accepting.
The book is charmingly illustrated by Trista Vercher. And each chapter contains workbook pages so you can process what you learn. Here's what it looks like inside:
About the author
Gina Handley Schmitt, MA, LMHC has been a psychotherapist near Seattle, WA for seventeen years, specializing in achieving their clients' intrapersonal and interpersonal goals. She teaches Psychology at the University of Arkansas–Pulaski Technical College and has been a speaker at the Unite Women’s Conference and the Northwest Ministry Conference. Handley-Schmitt lives with her husband off the shores of Lake Washington, where they enjoy planning their next Disney adventure.
About the publisher
Microcosm Publishing is an independent publisher and distributor focused on reader self-empowerment. We're based in Portland, Oregon with a staff of 13, nearly 500 published books, 2 million books in print, and over 10,000 titles in our distribution catalog. We try to be good to each other and have the most fun every day.
We crowdfund some of our books on Kickstarter for two big reasons: to reach readers who might not otherwise find the book amidst the deluge of books published every day, and to give you the chance to pre-order the book to help with manufacturing costs. There are other good reasons too—like shedding new light on our older books that are included in some reward levels, and the helpful clarity that comes with building a structured page like this. We're big fans of this platform, especially because it's helped us find so many readers and a few lifelong friends!
When you back this project on Kickstarter, you're essentially making a pledge to support the book. It's an all-or-nothing situation: your credit card is only charged at the end of the project if we raise the full amount of our goal or more. Then we ask for your address, enter a whole lot of data into our own shipping system, and as soon as the book's back from the printer we start sending out your rewards.
What do we do with the funds raised here? About 10% gets taken off the top in Kickstarter and credit card fees. The rest is allocated in our database to the cost of rewards (split between Friending and the other items offered—this accounting primarily goes to pay the printer) and shipping. At the end, we have a book that's close to being in the black, an author who starts getting paid royalties much sooner than normal, and a whole lot of happy readers. It's a win-win-win.
About the rewards
Update: We have some stretch goals!
$8,000: Once we pass this amount, every backer who's already getting something in the mail will also get a selection of friendship-y vinyl stickers.
$10,000: Once we reach 10k, we'll bring Gina down to Portland to sign all your books before we ship them out to you!
$12,000: This is a fun one. If we reach this level, we'll create a backer penpal program—we'll offer everyone who backs the chance to connect with other backers to exchange letters or postcards. This will be totally optional and opt-in only: We will never share your info without your enthusiastic consent. But if you want a chance to maybe make a couple new friends, this could be for you!
Cover art posters
Want a poster of Cecilia Granata's gorgeous cover art? We've removed the text and printed up these beauties, exclusively for Kickstarter backers.
Posters are 11x17, printed on thick-ish, glossy-ish paper, and will be shipped in a tube, separately from your book.
Build your confidence and stamina for the ups and downs of friendships with these powerful tools:
- Coping Skills - A book that breaks down a huge range of coping skills by the type of situation you need them in
- Self-Compassion - Can't we all use a little more of this skill? This zine kindly points the way
- Emotional Freedom Technique - Combining science and acupuncture, EFT has been clinically proven to help with stuff from mild anxiety to PTSD
I Love Workbooks
Get a copy each of all the workbooks that Microcosm's published so far, a motley assortment:
- Unf*ck Your Intimacy Workbook - Take a breath and delve into your sexual history, and work on your partner communication skills, on your own or with someone else
- Unf*ck Your Brain Workbook - Good worksheets for retraining your brain and tracking your progress
- Unf*ck Your Anger Workbook - Sort out what you're mad about, why, and what to do about it
- A People's Guide to Publishing Workbook - Got an idea for a book? Or a publishing company? Process it here
- From Chaos to Creativity Workbook - Tools for making time for your creative projects when there just don't seem to be enough hours in the day
- Open Your Heart blank book - Empty pages to write or draw whatever you like
Mental Health Power Pack
When times get rough, friends can be the best medicine. Books can really help, too!
- Coping Skills
- This is Your Brain on Anxiety - A basic scientific understanding of anxiety and what to do about it. This tiny book packs a punch
- This is Your Brain on Depression - Why do we get depressed? What kinds of depression are there? How do we cope with it and work through it? This book has answers
- How Not to Kill Yourself - A pitch-perfect guide that'll make you laugh just the right amount while you build the habits and perspectives needed to save your life
Friendship is a super close relationship, but it's not the only kind! If your love life needs some work as well as your friend life, these books and zines are for you
- Unf*ck Your Adulting - Emotional maturity and getting along with others is the hardest part of adulthood and this book is here for practicing that
- Unf*ck Your Intimacy - Level up your existing or future intimate relationships
- Consensuality - Solid advice for anyone who's ever had a rocky relationship and wasn't sure why
- Defriending - Oof, we had to go there—this zine shows how to end a close relationship as well as such a thing is possible
- How to Human with Autism: Dating, Friendships, & Relationships - Written for autistic people with non-condescending, refreshingly clear advice; neurotypicals can also learn from this
We had fun going through our published books and finding out that so many of them are about friendship. Here’s a selection of fun reads centering the power of many different kinds of friendship!
- Cambodian Grrrl - Teaching Phnom Penh's first class of university women, the author experiences powerful human connections
- Indestructible - A queer, Cuban teenager finds hope and growth among friends
- Juggalo Country- A strange, harrowing, and heartwarming tale of chosen family
- Invincible Summer #1 and #2 - Tales of friendship, veganism, small dogs, punk shows, and bicycle adventures in Portland in the early 00s
- Scam - This unique book collects zines about squatting and adventuring in Miami in the 90s. All the stories are 100% friendship-powered!
- Sick - A zine collecting stories of physical illness, with an emphasis on the importance of community support
- Xtra Tuf - Tales of being a commercial fisherwoman in Alaska and making all sorts of unlikely friends
All the books and zines — One copy each of Friending and every other book or zine offered as a reward. For the person who wants all the books!
All our rewards are made in the USA and shipped from the Microcosm warehouse in Portland, Oregon.
Thank you for your support!
Risks and challenges
With 1 in 4 people in the US saying they have no close friends, we feel like the real risk is *not* publishing as many good resources as possible about friendship and other close human connections. We have a lot of experience to back this up, with over two decades in publishing, hundreds of books, and dozens of successful Kickstarter projects. So many things can go wrong with a publishing project—delays, misprints, mixed-up spreadsheets, lost mail—and we've weathered it all and know how to bounce back and communicate with you the whole way.
We're excited to bring you this book. Thank you for believing in and supporting independent publishing, and joining us as we try every day to do it better.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (28 days)