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The Nine Rooms of Happiness Author Q&A and Giveaway

Giveaway has ended, but enjoy the author interview! Are you happy, girlfriend? Why the heck not? Are you letting the little things get in the way? According to a new book, women tend to let their momentary mistakes overshadow  their episodes of excellence, until self-doubt shakes the foundation of even the happiest life. Unfortunately, this is the way many women think about everything—their love lives, their friendships, their bank accounts, their family life, their career, and their body image.

Lucy Danziger, editor in chief of Self, and Catherine Birndorf, a psychiatrist and expert on women’s mental health issues, teamed up to write The Nine Rooms of Happiness: Loving Yourself, Finding Your Purpose, and Getting Over Life’s Little Imperfections. (Voice; March 2, 2010; $24.99). In it, they use the simple metaphor of a house to illustrate the central problem: when women should be grateful for what they have in their lives in the room at hand, they are either seeing the room’s imperfections or, worse, worrying about another room.  The book takes women through different parts of their lives (homes), helps them understand their patterns, and gives them new ways of thinking to solve their own problems. You can find out much more about the book, the authors, and the nine rooms at

And guess what? One whole room (chapter) is devoted to women’s friendships! So, of course, we had to find out more, because who doesn’t want to be happier? Here’s our exclusive Q&A with the authors. Scroll to the end to find out how you can win a FREE copy of the book.
Q. Let’s talk about friendship. Why is friendship The Living Room? How is it connected to the other emotional rooms?

A. The living room is where all your socializing takes place. It’s where you interact with your neighbors, your friends, where you entertain and throw parties, and where you end up comparing yourself to other women, for better or worse.

How you behave in the living room is not exactly how you behave in other emotional areas of your life…you’re typically on “good” behavior, trying to look and act your best and put forward your social self…but this doesn’t always equate with how you feel on the inside. Many women feel insecure in this social arena, and it can come from feeling like a nerd as a high-schooler (these memories are stored in the basement) or being more concerned about how you look in your jeans instead of who you are talking to (body image belongs in the bathroom).

Q. Why is female friendship so important?

A. We know from extensive research that strong social ties can make you healthier and happier. The more connected you are to your community, and the happier you are, the healthier you are. The two are connected. So keep those friendships intact, for their sake and yours!

Q. What are some of the most common problems or issues women have with friendship?

A. From the women we spoke to for our book, and we interviewed hundreds, we found that saying “no” was a major struggle. Women seem hard-wired to help, to give and to do it at their own expense. This is where our key process:  too much of a good thing is a bad thing… So the takeaway message here, or “pearl” is: you have to know your limits.

Having limits and sticking to them is essential. Women can feel selfish when they say “No, sorry, can’t help out today,” or I have to cancel because I am totally worn out, but in fact, we tell women in the book that this isn’t selfish, it’s self preservation. You simply have to take care of yourself…because only then can you be healthy and happy and giving to those around you, including being a good friend. BTW, this is why we sometimes call the living room, the “giving room”.

Q. How can we be happier in regard to friendship?

A. Many women believe that a happy friendship is one without conflict. We hear lots of women say they don’t like to disagree with their friends. They believe that really close friendships should always run smoothly. But this may be because you are smoothing over differences or issues that actually need to be discussed. If you don’t figure out how to disagree or tolerate a difference of opinion, you can end up with lots issues getting swept under the rug. And then the rug or the atmosphere in the living room becomes problematic, bumpy,  or messy, since always avoiding conflict leads to a whole new problem!

One of our favorite key processes in the book is: “It’s not Either/or, .. instead think Both/and”… which means that you can be both best friends and disagree on something. In other words, conflict is okay. (We love our siblings and often disagree with them… sometimes our gal pals become surrogate sisters, but the fights are uncomfortable because unlike the family room, where everyone has to love each other no matter what, girlfriends can choose to break up or move apart, and that often happens because there’s a breakdown in communication. You have to tell each other when you’re upset. (For friends who are different and disagree, but love each other through thick and thin, think of the great movie and TV rolls where the conflict is played out in dialogue, like in Sex and the City or Friends!) But you may have to learn to live with a little discomfort in the name of a healthier and ultimately happier friendship!

Q. What is your favorite thing to do with girlfriends?

CB: Almost anything that involves talking…especially sharing a cup of tea or taking a long walk.

LD: I talk with my best friends too, but usually it’s either while we exercise or while we eat! I do different things with different people, so it’s often their call.

Lucy Danziger has been editor-in-chief of Self magazine for over eight years. Catherine Birndorf, M.D., is a psychiatrist and the founding director of the Payne Whitney Women’s Program at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center. Both women live in New York City.

And now for the giveaway

You have TWO chances to win a free copy of The Nine Rooms of Happiness, courtesy of Hyperion Voice.

1. Simply leave a comment on this post, telling why you are interested in the book.

2. Click on over to the wonderful Friendship Blog and read Irene Levine’s review of the book. Then, you can enter her contest as well.

EXTRA ENTRIES: Tweet the following:

“I’ve entered to win a copy of #NineRooms of Happiness, courtesy of , and !″

You may tweet one extra entry each day.

Winners will be selected at random from all entries received by 11:59 PM on Tuesday, March 23, 2010. U.S. shipping addresses only, please. Good luck, girlfriends!


  1. Wow, this looks like a great, fun read…Looking forward to the announcement on the winner, (hoping its me) but will then put this on my list of books to buy…

    Comment by Courtney Calvert — March 16, 2010 @ 5:00 pm

  2. This book sounds like just what I need! I am constantly trying to initiate, develop and maintain friendships. I need some help and a new perspective on doing so.

    Comment by Dina — March 16, 2010 @ 5:21 pm

  3. I would love to win this!!! I love my girl friends and cannot live without them in my life. They so important to me.

    Comment by Vickie — March 16, 2010 @ 6:34 pm

  4. This looks like a fabulous book…I’ve come to love my girlfriends more and more the older I get:)

    Comment by meredith — March 16, 2010 @ 6:44 pm

  5. [...] The Nine Rooms of Happiness Author Q&A and Giveaway | Girlfriend … [...]

    Pingback by best way to get a girlfriend back | MEETTHEPEOPLE.INFO — March 17, 2010 @ 10:44 am

  6. I am ready to do some spring cleaning in my own living room. This book has come at the perfect time. :-)

    Comment by Jess — March 17, 2010 @ 6:33 pm

  7. looks like a great book!

    Comment by cherie — March 19, 2010 @ 12:50 pm

  8. I think this is an awesome sounding book. To put it in a house is perfect really understandable. I went through the house descriptions and it is right o topic. I am a military wife and we are moving at least once a year and live in Germany for four years now. I believe this book regardless if I win the entry or not I will get it. I think this book will help me develop and maintain friendships throughout our military life. This is important for a military wife with deployments and training months. Then on top of it all friends you do make moving so staying in touch is very important too. I could not agree more that friend ship is most of after ones religious life and marriage very important to a woman. Thank you for this book!!

    Comment by Trishell — March 20, 2010 @ 3:02 am

  9. Repeated from Irene Levine’s blog-
    Wow- just as I was about to hire a cleaning lady! I’m inspired just reading the book cover- finding purpose (other than work, wifehood and parenting), loving myself (that’s a tall order, talk to my therapist!), and getting over life’s little imperfections ( get out the mountaineering equipment)- I need all of those!
    Then when you said, “insight into the unconscious motivations that impede these women from achieving healthier friendships that can enhance their happiness quotient”, I knew that I HAD to have that book…..
    My living room is littered with unfinished attempts at friendships like half eaten sandwiches that I abandoned because I got distracted by some other needs in other rooms of my life. As I walk in with the light of day I can see that It needs an overhaul, new paint, refreshed pillow covers on the overstuffed (ahem) couch, there are dust kitties and cat hair in the corners that I generally try not to look at. I see the comfy chair in the corner that I spend my spare time whiling away in fantasies of warm, refreshing friendships.
    Well, needless to say- I’m sure the book was written with me in mind! Thanks for turning me on to it Irene!

    Comment by Starrlife — March 20, 2010 @ 8:15 am

  10. I look forward to reading this book! Thanks for sharing. Another excellent book on friendship that I enjoyed was Vital Friends The People You Can’t Afford To Live Without. Perhaps you could interview that author, Tom Rath .. (or perhaps you already have.)

    Cheers! Viveca

    Comment by Viveca from FatigueBeGone — March 22, 2010 @ 4:08 pm

  11. This seems like a must have book for all women. I personally would like to own it to figure out how to better my life. All the topics mentioned about the book interest me. Probably like most women I am struggling with having a stable happy life do to my emotional roller coaster life that I face every day because of various reasons such as financial problems, my career or the lack of, reasoning with my family and most depressing, my body image.

    Comment by Eugenia Robles — March 23, 2010 @ 4:09 pm

  12. After all these years of Women’s Lib, it is great to see us liberating ourselves from thinking we have to DO it all and BE it all for everyone else. Look into the mirror and smile. She needs to be your best friend.

    Comment by Dr, Judy Krings — March 26, 2010 @ 9:51 am

  13. I’ve made time for EVERYTHING else, now it’s time to make time for me, to hang out with my friends. I have no idea were to start. Loved the web site, and feel the book will give me the ideas and encouragment I need to reach out. Thank you!

    Comment by Jonelle — April 3, 2010 @ 9:39 am

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