How important is a best friend to you? We know deep friendships are important but Townsend says many people do not know how to form them. Many people are isolated and have learned to live with just shallow friendships. Some just don't have the skill and abilities to go deep. Others put their energy into the opposite sex or family members.
Townsend has written this book to help you with friendship in general and particularly those few deep friendships. He wants you to experiences the highest level of good from our friendships.
Townsend clarifies what he means by friend, involving knowing, liking, and presence. They are people with whom you entrust yourself.
You'll need more than one person to provide all of the qualities you need. Different people have different strengths to offer. (He has caution and advice for pursuing friends of the opposite sex.) He explains that friendships need maintenance or will suffer and decline.
Townsend believes that most best friendships are being underutilized, not providing for either what they could. With exploration and effort the friendship can be maximized.
Townsend says your spouse as your only best friend is not enough. “We were not designed to have one person meet our deepest needs. We were designed for community.” (50)
Townsend explains how to “connect” with people, how to deepen the attachment (such as venting, talking about core values). He also gives suggestions with respect to helping your friends, not give them excuses for their behavior. He writes about the social media world (such as Facebook) and its role in friendship. It may be great for updates but not for confrontations or serious dialogue.
Townsend writes about relational honesty. You are first to be truthful about yourself. You are to be truthful about the other person. He writes about fighting – the right way. Of healing, he says, “Time, plus relationship and truth, can heal just about everything.” (114) He has recommendations for creating an honest environment. Time is essential. “Best Friendships require time to grow and produce the great relationships we need.” (121)
Townsend says it is not good to have only family as best friends. “Love your home, love your family, but you were designed to let nonfamily members into the deeper recesses of your heart and life.” (140) Do all you can to befriend those in your family who will be the kind of friends Townsend has described. “But beyond that,” he says, “make sure you are connected to people outside the comfort zone of your family.” (145)
He ends his book with a challenge. Best friends are powerful because you have made yourself vulnerable. They can be life-changing, positively or negatively. The same goes for your influence on them. Choose your words carefully. Pay attention to their care.
There is a discussion guide at the end of the book although the advance copy egalley I received did not have it included.
This short book is packed with encouragement and ideas for creating and sustaining best friends. Teens and young adults would certainly benefit from this book.
Worthy Publishing, 192 pages. This book releases January 3, 2012.
I received an advanced egalley of this book from Worthy Publishing for the purpose of this review.