QUICK HIT: In How to be a Best Friend Forever, Dr. John Townsend highlights the best practices of the art of friendship and crafts strategies for creating friendships that last. At a quick 120 pages, Townsend’s book really isn’t as deep as I would like—or as deep as I know he could go. This book had a lot of potential, but stays too superficial, making a quick read but not really one that states anything but the obvious.
In my life, I look back on a lot of friends. Many of those friends I would now call acquaintances. A decade ago, they would have just disappeared from life entirely. Now, modern technology keeps me in the loop to their lives and lets me interact with them in small ways, but it’d be incorrect to call them current friends. That’s not always a bad thing. In many cases, it’s just life. The things we shared that brought us together are now no longer things we share—be that activities, beliefs, or location.
But there are those that have stuck.
They’ve been with me through the ups and downs, highs and lows, successes and failures. They’re the first people I turn to for advice and the people for whom my phone is always on, door is always open, IM box always blinking. And I’ve long thought, what’s the difference? What made those friendships stick while others, borne out of similar situations, faded away into acquaintances or someone I scroll by on Facebook? In How to be a Best Friend Forever, Dr. John Townsend highlights the best practices of the art of friendship and crafts strategies for creating friendships that last.
I’m very glad that Townsend begins his book with a structure of the types of friends, although it’s a bit odd and amusing to see him using the vernacular F, BF, BFF phraseology. He begins by highlighting the differences between the three structures and affirming that not all friendships need attain that highest level while at the same time encouraging people to think of every friendship as a potential BFF.
Throughout the book Townsend develops different principles of life-long friendship. Of course, chief among them is the idea of spending time together. I appreciate that beyond that, he talks about the ability to stay in touch with short phone calls—which, to my generation, would take the form of IM or text message. Second, he discusses values. Friends that last are friends are friends that share your values.
But after this, Townsend cuts to the heart of friendship as those is your life that can speak the harsh truth to you in love, those that will be there for you in silence when words won’t help, and those trust above all else.
At a quick 120 pages, Townsend’s book really isn’t as deep as I would like—or as deep as I know he could go. He brings up ideas, all of which are fairly obvious, and never really develops them in any substantial way. The last 50 pages of the book is a study guide that seems just thrown in to pad the book size a bit more. This book had a lot of potential, but stays too superficial, making a quick read but not really one that states anything but the obvious.