Americans, according to this professor of psychology at Loyola University, have trouble dealing with mysteries — they both fascinate and frighten us. Love and death are "robust mysteries" which can be plumbed through friendship. Kennedy defines this important relationship between individuals as "a process in which the ore of humanity is sifted and refined so that the strengths may be reinforced and the weaknesses may be gradually neutralized."

Friendship is "a homey poetry" which allows us to be ourselves; it helps us confront death in a thousand ways; it tutors us in trust and opens us to risk; and it centers us in a world of change and conflict. Kennedy's fresh observations on this subject (about which many others have written) are both accessible and revealing. On Being a Friend is an ideal gift for someone very close to you.