This work challenges the age-old myth that women's talk is trivial and unimportant. Drawing on a corpus of spontaneous conversation between friends, Jennifer Coates demonstrates the richness and complexity of the language used in such talk, focusing on women's use of hedges, questions and repetition. She shows how women use story-telling as a focus for discussing and re-evaluating social norms, and for the construction and maintenance of personal identity. At the level of conversational organization, Coates makes the claim that women friends draw on a collaborative model which enables them to construct talk jointly. She draws on post-structuralist theory to show the ways in which women's talk constructs and maintains gender, and constructs and maintains friendship. Overall, the book builds up a picture of women's friendship in the late-20th century, and of the vital role played by language in these friendships.