The Art Of Friendship: Creating And Keeping Relationships That Matter, by Kim Wier
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by Bethany House. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]
When it comes to books like this, I wonder if sometimes that authors don’t always know what audience they are aiming a book at. This book is aimed at a target audience of suburban yuppie women who have found themselves burned by attempts to keep up their social life on social media and who are willing to read a biblically based guide to godly friendship that answers the needs of someone who may be a bit isolated socially but is not a particularly awkward or unfriendly or unsociable person by nature. There are a lot of nice touches that this book has that make it an enjoyable read even if I happen to be outside of this book’s target market (since I doubt that this book expects a lot of men to want to read the author’s thoughts on friendship, even if most of it is generally applicable to both men and women). The author manages in general to capture that tricky balance between being personal and talking about her own stories and not being so self-absorbed that she would turn off her audience, and that ‘s a delicate trick on a subject like this one.
This book of a bit less than 200 pages and it contains sixteen chapters. The author begins by talking about the myth of the BFF (1) and then moves to the challenge of knowing up from down (2). The author discusses the difference between friends and fads (3) as well as the need for having and being the sort of friend who helps fill the tank of others (4). Discussions of chasing clout (5) and social media (6) follow, along with a discussion of the way we want friends to accept us for who we are (7) and a look at what women want from their friends (8). The author discusses lifelong friendship (9), the need to serve with a smile (10), and gets into some discussions on the definition of love (11, 12). A humorous look at Kate Hudson movies leads to how to lose a friend in ten days (13) as well as how to know when it is time to grow up (14). There is some advice on the care and feeding of friends (15) as well as treating friendships like a flourishing garden (16) before the book closes with acknowledgments, notes, and information about the author.
For this reader at least, the best parts of the book were the anecdotes. Some of these anecdotes were biblical, such as the author’s thoughts about the famous friendships between Ruth and her mother-in-law Naomi or Jonathan and David, where the author makes some sensible comments about how Jonathan preferred being David’s friend to being king, when a less gracious person would have been deeply envious of the fact that David had been promised the kingship even though Jonathan was the heir to the throne of Saul. Other anecdotes, though, are more personal, and among the funniest as well as the most poignant was the fact that the author had a friendly dog who had more friends in her neighborhood than she did. I can definitely feel the relevance of the author’s thoughts about wanting to get to know those who are physically close to you but not being particularly good at it, and that is certainly true for me and likely a lot of other people as well. The author also manages to blend in some wise advice about friendship from some disparate sources, some of them to be expected for Christian authors (like C.S. Lewis), but also some surprising sources as well.