What the book is about:
This nonfiction lifestyle book touches the hearts of women by talking about one of the most painful and least talked about issues we face – friendship. In this book, Lisa-Jo dives deeply into exploring friendship, from the wounds that past friendships leave to how we can take charge and influence our friendships long into the future.
The book is divided into four parts:
- What are we afraid of?
- What can’t we do about it?
- What can we do about it?
- Where do we start?
Part 1 talks about three fears we develop over a lifetime of friendship hurts – Friendship PTSD, Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO), and Fear of being or including the new girl. Lisa-Jo talks about each of these areas in a way that explains the term, offers real life examples, and as a friend coming alongside, helps the reader to explore her own areas of fear.
Part 2 discusses our expectations regarding friendship – it can’t always be our way, we can’t expect others to fill us up, and we can’t control other people’s stories. Whenever we expect friends to do friendship the way we want or to fill us, we set ourselves up for disappointment. Lisa-Jo gently explains why these are really bad ideas and helps guide the reader to a better way of thinking. She also explores how we can bring manipulation into our friendships when we want to control their stories or their reactions to us in a way that is nonjudgmental and sometimes really hilarious.
Part 3 is seven chapters dedicated to the things we can control in our friendships from going first and being brave enough to be imperfect and giving your friends the benefit of the doubt and not being afraid to listen to them. She masterfully weaves through each of these topics in a way that doesn’t overwhelm the reader but still offers the ability for the reader to reflect and self-examine.
Part 4 wraps up with the ideas of practicing being a friend to ourselves first and then being a friend to others. In these two final chapters, Lisa-Jo pulls out all the practical application stops and gives readers simple and not-terribly-threatening bits of advice that are easy to apply and follow as the reader feels she is able to do.
In each of these sections, Lisa-Jo digs to put words to things that perhaps many of us have thought or experienced, but have never quite found the words for. There were many places where I had to stop reading because the sense of “that’s what’s going on!” was so profound I had to catch my breath a little.
The life stage of each individual, I believe, will heavily influence which part of the book has the most impact. Since such a broad range of topics are discussed within the realm of friendship, it’s very likely that at least one chapter will resonate deeply with the reader.
Finally and most importantly, Lisa-Jo weaves the thread of Jesus throughout and emphasizes that all the things we wish our friends would do God already does for us. She reminds the readers that firstly, we need to examine our relationship with God and then we can begin to examine our relationships with our friends and begin to improve them. She also acknowledges that sometimes what we need to do is cut off a toxic friendship.
Overall, Lisa-Jo provides a friendly and well-thought-out study of friendship that starts with examining and acknowledging our past and ends with giving us practical steps to take our friendships into the future.
What I liked:
- The easy and conversational tone was refreshing. Lisa-Jo constantly gives the impression of “me too!” all the way through the book.
- Personal examples that are touching and hilarious help me to absorb the material and help me to understand that she doesn’t have it all figured out either.
- The many gems scattered throughout the book that I find myself repeating over and over even now.
- Chapter lengths were manageable. Not too long, but long enough to cover the material she wanted to talk about.
What I didn’t like:
- Even with ample usage of Scripture, I found that I would have liked a little more mention of context at times to ensure that cherry picking wasn’t happening.
What to incorporate in your own writing:
Things I would suggest to other writers to incorporate into their writing should they be pursuing a similar book:
- Intentional use of personal examples – there are no examples shared with no purpose.
- “Me too!” attitude – Lisa-Jo at no point appears to be talking down to or pointing a finger at the readers. With the sometimes dense or hard to digest material, the feeling of her coming alongside is comforting.
- A solid road map along the theme – Friendship is a huge topic and Lisa-Jo does a fantastic job of staying along her line of thought about friendship and doesn’t try to venture outside the scope of what her main message is.
How I came across it:
I won Never Unfriended as a door prize at a MOPS meeting. My friend Katie had been raving about it for several weeks, as she was part of the launch team, and I had planned to buy it, but won it before I had the chance to purchase.
Overall thoughts and opinions:
I enjoyed this book very much. I swung between wanting to devour it in one sitting and wanting to let it stretch on forever. I found that it spoke into some of my deepest friendship hurts and helped me to take the next step in healing, whatever that looked like. This is a book I will return to again and again when I need encouragement in my friendship journey.
I give this book 5 stars.