Name of Book: How to be a Best Friend Forever
By: Dr. John Townsend
Publisher: Worthy Publishing
Copyright Date: 2011
Number of Pages: 176
Rating: C+ (Jehara) B- (Faith) B- (Izzybella)
Disclosure: We received advance review copies of the book. The opinions expressed in this review are our own, and we received no remuneration for this review.
Jehara, Elizabeth, and Faith decided that, since we are true-blue BFF’s, it would be fun to do a group review. We met for a lovely online chat, and discussed not only this book, but, as we usually do, shoes—and ships—and sealing wax—Of cabbages—and kings—and why the sea is boiling hot—and whether pigs have wings.” (Lewis Carroll)
Jehara: Hi! yay for group chat! haha
Faith: Amen to that, sistah! So: How to be a best friend forever. I think we already have that figured out without the help of this book
Elizabeth: It’s very Christian, which would be great for some people. I did like that he said it’s good to make non-Christian friends as well. But his focus was definitely on Christian values as the core of friendship.
Faith: It was, but I also think that he did hit the nail on the head in a lot of aspect, regardless of whether you’re Christian or not.
Faith: Jehara–what was that paragraph you were talking about on the phone?
Jehara: the one about friends sucking the life out of you?
Jehara: it was on page 82:
“Core values are also core to your deepest friendships. Can you imagine investing your friendship hours in someone who has little value for freedom and wants to control your time? Or someone who doesn’t really want a relationship? Or someone who takes no ownership of their life or their effect on you? Or someone who keeps an account of every time you have let them down and reminds you of it? Something would break down sooner or later . . . “ (p. 82)
Faith: I call them energy vampires.
Jehara: I liked that he covered toxic friends. I also liked that he laid out how to determine what a true best friend relationship is and what isn’t, which I suppose was the point of the whole book—how to determine which friendships are really serving you and how to go deeper in them.
Faith: Exactly–how to improve your bff relationships. Opening up, being honest and open, even when it might be a little uncomfortable.
Elizabeth: I recognized some personal faults in there that I have, especially making time. I can be a real loner sometimes, and it’s okay to honor that, but I always enjoy being with the people I love. I never regret time spent with my friends, but I have regretted NOT spending time with them, if that makes sense.
Faith: I definitely enjoyed having you over Friday. And I kinda didn’t want to go to my meetup last night, but it was such a wonderful time being with them that I am glad I went.
Elizabeth: See that happens to me too. I’ll just be tired, and I don’t want to do anything, but then when I do it usually recharges me.
Jehara: I like to make no-purpose phone calls but I don’t do them as often as I think of them and usually time is a barrier. I have a mental block where I feel like I need a lot more time available to make a phone call when really twenty minutes or even ten will suffice, which results in me not making as many of them as I would like.
Faith: And I’m bad about that, because I hate talking on the phone. I will always answer for Liz, and I will usually answer for you.
Jehara: I also feel like everyone is so busy no one will take my call anyway.
Elizabeth: LOL!! You called today and I missed it!!
Jehara: I mean everyone in general, not just you two haha.
Faith: I feel a truly special bond between the three of us and Amethyst. I know that stems from the ceremony we did that one time. I have been transparent with the three of you, and I know that you love me, warts and all. He talks about that on page 104
“In addition to your dark side, you also have a judge within you who takes hold of the mistakes you make and creates a court case out of the situation. He uses this as an opportunity to condemn and guilt you. Who isn’t familiar with self-talk such as ‘I’m a loser,’ or ‘I’ll never make it,’ or even ‘I can’t stand myself’? The sting of the judge’s words can make us run scared through life.
“These are the times when we most need our BFs to know us and to accept us fully. This is when BFs really shine for each other. If there is anything BFs can do that is wonderful, amazing, and what we least expect, it is that they accept us for who we are, leaving shame and guilt at the door. With their compassion, they neutralize the sting of that internal judge. When your friend has no illusions about you, knows your flaws, and hangs in there with you anyway, you truly know what acceptance feels like at the deepest level. When we are accepted just as we are, we are in a position to be truly empowered to succeed and grow in life. In our best friendships, we are okay with each other not being okay.”
Elizabeth: But we have had our more difficult moments.
Jehara: If you are friends with anyone long enough you will encounter those.
Elizabeth: In retrospect, I wish I had spoken up that one time when you were there because we could have just hugged it out.
Faith: Me too.
Jehara: Me three.
Faith: But the important thing is that despite hurt feelings, we were able to push through it. and I think our relationship weathered the storm and is, perhaps, stronger?
Elizabeth: Yes, most definitely, and I, at least, certainly learned from it.
Jehara: Yeah it was definitely a tricky time, but I am glad we were able to get past it in the end.
Faith: (((((((((())))))))))))))) So one of the things that we’ve learned is how to nourish a friendship, and that’s something he talks about.
Elizabeth: I thought the big thing was presence.
Jehara: It is definitely trickier handling conflict in long distance relationships. I felt like if I had been geographically present we would have recovered much sooner.
Elizabeth: Oh, sure.
Faith: But no one gave up on us.
Jehara: But the physical distance was only aiding the emotional distance which SUCKED.
Faith: Absolutely. And I have missed you SO MUCH!!!!
Jehara: This summer visit really meant a lot to me. It was so important to be able to get solid alone time with you both instead of just dinner and bye.
Elizabeth: Speaking of chatting that’s another point I thought was really good-trying to maintain a friendship through chat, text, and Facebook. Not too easy. And this generation of youth are so connected, it’s especially imperative for them to understand how presence can deepen the friendship. Just hearing the sound of someone’s voice brings a more physical connection.
Faith: It does. But in the absence of presence, emails and letters are wonderful. I treasure my daily emails with you, although I’d rather have an hour or two in your presence. But those emails let us keep in touch with each other’s lives.
Elizabeth: Definitely!! But those are words chosen with care instd of txt spk.
Faith: I LOATHE txt spk itz dsgstg
Faith: Or should I say I h8 it. lol
Jehara: txt spk SCKS. I suck at speaking it too hahaha.
Faith: Me too. You may have noticed that when I text I spell words out.
Jehara: I spell out everything too.
Elizabeth: So I would suggest that this book is most beneficial to someone without a best friend because good functional best friends already know a lot of this stuff.
Faith: But even good functional best friends can perhaps find something useful in the book. How to take their friendship to even deeper levels.
Elizabeth: Yes, definitely.
Jehara: I have a question for you both.
Elizabeth: Okay, shoot.
Faith: Ask away.
Jehara: I was curious what you thought of the family friends chapter, since you have the unique position of being sisters and best friends.
Elizabeth: He asks a question on page 169 about that.
Elizabeth: Whether it’s the family connection or just you…in our case, I think we’d be best friends any way, though I can’t help thinking the family connection certainly helped. Faith raised me in a lot of ways. But she was also completely prepared to love me when I popped out.
Faith: You know, I think it’s just us. I feel incredibly blessed to have Liz as my best friend. But I think having other BFF’s is good, too. My life is so much richer with Jehara, Amethyst, Clover, Sarah, etc. And I know Liz, you have Melissa and Ro and Elle. Oh, hon, I loved you while you were still a bump under Mom’s dresses.
Jehara: I am grateful for this book in the fact that it has made me feel brave about speaking up on things I have been afraid to say.
Elizabeth: It’s a good book, and I like the questions in the back.
Elizabeth: Jehara, I am so glad you met my sister.
Jehara: Me too.
Jehara: But I am also glad I met YOU.
Elizabeth: I have loved you from day one but if you knew how much faith loves you… she really does.
Jehara: Seriously all those times you chatted with me in the parking lot so made my days.
Elizabeth: You are a part of our sister group now.
Jehara: I thought you were so awesome and never expected you to, you know…
Faith: I loved you from the moment we met in Dr. Lacy’s class.
Jehara: actually be my friend
Elizabeth: I can’t imagine why not.
Jehara: I was really really happy when you came on board MoMentuM.
Elizabeth: You truly are a spectacular human being, Jehara.
Faith: Yep, you are. Both of you.
Jehara: Because that is the silly things people think about those they think are much cooler than themselves.
Elizabeth: hahahahaa, no way, the two of you are way cooler than me!!!
Jehara: Well, I had you up on a tiny pedestal when I first met you, which pedestals are never good. They create barriers.
Elizabeth: Plus people fall over when the pedestal crumbles.
Jehara: But then you joined my theatre endeavor with V.
Jehara: I’m just saying though, I thought very highly of you. I am very grateful we have forged a bond.
Elizabeth: Well ditto back at you.
Jehara: I still think highly of you.
Elizabeth: In my mind you were so exotic and unusual.
A true quirky girl before the word became overused.
I never knew what to expect exactly and that was so cool.
Faith: Quirky in the best and greatest sense of the word.
Elizabeth: You are just so interesting to talk to and learn from.
Jehara: I find you to be the same.
Faith: And I have learned so very much from you.
Elizabeth: I am NEVER bored by either one of you.
Jehara: I have learned a lot from you in all those moments we have had opportunities for heart to hearts. And you have such presence, and are so ethereal to me at times.
Elizabeth: Thank you. Ethereal applies to you as well. Maybe that’s why we all were able to connect. Not the etherealness, just different brands of uniqueness.
Elizabeth: Am I making you cry, faithie, with my crucifixion of the English language?
Faith: I’m, um, speechless.
As should be obvious to you, dear reader, we have something of a mutual admiration society going. We really are BFFs.
And as far as the book goes, it was very Christian-centric, but even those who are not Christian can find something useful in building friendships as close as we feel privileged to have.
GIVEAWAY: We have three copies to give away. If you’re interested, please leave a comment. The winners will be drawn by the official Quirky Girls mascot, Molly’s adorable son Sam, on February 10th. International readers are eligible to win.