“It’s all about validation,” Nicole Zangara said of her book, Surviving Female Friendships: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. Zangara, a Scottsdale resident, is passionate about the virtually unexplored topic of navigating female friendships. Her goal is to provide guidance but also to ensure women that they are not alone in their experiences and thoughts related to this topic.nicole zangara

With an undergraduate degree in Psychology and a graduate degree in Social Work, Zangara, now a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, has impressive credentials for speaking on this subject. Coupled with this experience, however, is Zangara’s approachable and friendly personality.

One reader described her experience reading Zangara’s book, published by Brighton Publishing in Chandler, as though she felt as if she was simply sitting down with a friend to chat and Zangara and I were able to do just that at a local Starbucks recently. Although she and I had just met, there was no lack of conversation. Because we were able to relate so effortlessly over this topic, sharing our own thoughts and stories with each other, it is easy to see the relevance of Zangara’s book for women today.

Because she combines wisdom and guidance with personal experiences and others’ stories in the book, Zangara considers her authorial role as both an advice-giver and a conversation-starter. She describes her book as not quite self-help but not quite a memoir. “I’m not imparting amazing wisdom,” she said, “but I’m giving a realistic look at how to handle different situations.”

In the book, which is out in eBook and print and available on amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com and smashwords.com, Zangara delves into topics such as the emotional baggage we bring into friendships, the process of meeting and making friends, how expectations can affect friendships, the roles that technology and social media play and countless other subjects. She highlights the importance of communication – of expressing expectations to friends and being honest when problems arise.

Zangara examines lighthearted topics like the influence of ideal, yet unrealistic television friendships to more serious issues like how to know when to end a friendship and the appropriate ways to go about it. Because of the diversity of the subject matter, Zangara is able to speak to a wide variety of ages. The content “hits close to home” for everyone she says. She considers her target age range to be from about 18 to 60+.

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Zangara also spoke of the “truly exciting” process of writing and publishing her book. She remembers a former co-worker simply telling her to “just write it” one day when the author expressed her desire to write a book. The next day she started writing and couldn’t stop. “It was a catharsis in a way,” she observed.

Zangara now has a blog where she continues the conversation from the book by posting about different ideas, experiences and articles related to female friendships. “There’s no lack of things to talk about,” she remarked.

Recently she’s posted intriguing thoughts about the value of keeping our word, how to approach friends that possess bad habits and the different roles we play in our friendships. She concludes each blog post by posing questions for readers to weigh in and converse with each other about the topic.

When I asked if she saw another book as a possibility for the future, Zangara mentioned that there are still so many ideas to explore. The blog, she said, has made her think about how much more there is to talk about. “I enjoyed the process so much,” she adds: “I would definitely be open to it.”