We’ve all experienced the ups and downs of friendship. Beginning when we were little girls, we’ve bonded with others over shared interests and have been devastated when certain friendships didn’t work out, whether due to arguments or simply drifting apart over time. We cherished the good and learned from the bad.
Now that we’re adults with busy lives, our friendships are more important than ever – which is why Grown-Up Girlfriends: Finding and Keeping Real Friends in the Real World (Tyndale, 2007) should be at the top of your reading list. Authors Erin Smalley and Carrie Oliver take us through a variety of lessons on both having and being good girlfriends, and what it takes to maintain friendships as grown women.
Faith is the major component in all of these relationships, as Smalley and Oliver relay how we can help each other grow in Christ and strengthen the bonds of friendship at the same time. They cover topics such as setting healthy boundaries, embracing each other’s differences, communication, dealing with crises, and the power of forgiveness. Their personal stories, including their bond with each other, really drive home the point that it takes love, faith, and a good dose of hard work – just as marriage does. Friendship is worth the sacrifice, and gives back so much more than you put into it.
At the same time, the authors understand that not all friendships are healthy or can be redeemed. They describe how to end a toxic relationship as kindly and lovingly as possible, plus how to deal with a friend who ends the relationship in a not-so-loving manner. It is crucial that we learn from these kinds of friends, without beating ourselves up or rehashing the situation over and over again long after the relationship has ended. It is also important that we stay open to new friendships even after we’ve been hurt, and not let our wounded emotions stop us from forming new bonds with other women.
If you’ve been hurt by a friend or are looking for ways to make new ones, this is a must read. Even if your relationships seem pretty healthy, this book will help you strengthen them further and keep you and your friends on the right track. You will gain confidence in yourself and your ability to be a friend, as well as accepting true friendship from your loved ones. God really does care about our friendships and wants us to make them the best they can be.