Tyndale House Publishers
Young girls have best friends. Grown women long for them. Why? Because women are created for relationships. Unfortunately, many friendships between women are not what they could and should be. These woman-to-woman relationships could be better. In Grown-Up Girlfriends, Erin Smalley and Carrie Oliver—who are themselves good friends—explain how to be that better kind of friend, whom they call the grown-up girlfriend.
What is a grown-up friend? Smalley and Oliver base their definition on 1 Corinthians 13:11: “A grown-up friend is someone who encourages us in our pursuit to ‘grow up into him’; in fact, she desires to become like Christ, too…If we want to become a grown-up friend, we must embrace two premises. First, we must take seriously the goal of becoming mature and wiser. Second, we must realize that we can learn to recognize other women with this same goal and then nurture our friendships with them…The grown-up friendship is characterized by deep trust, which enables each friend to see into the heart of the other person, have empathy, and see the world from her eyes. It also enables friends to speak the truth and be honest with one another.”
From this basis, Smalley and Oliver deal with the issues of friendships between women. They discuss emotional intimacy and the different levels or forms that it takes, setting healthy boundaries, dealing with differences, proper communication, and forgiving a friend. They also treat destructive friendships in reasonable detail, discuss how to help a friend who is experiencing a crisis, and how to let go when a friendship seems to be ending or when it is forcefully cut short.
The tone of Grown-Up Girlfriends is gentle but not mushy or overly sentimental. Smalley and Oliver handle the issues and their surrounding emotions with great delicacy and tenderness. They do not dictate that readers must do this or that; rather, they use personal examples from their own lives to shine a light down the path of close female friendships. They also challenge readers to become a better friend and to continue moving closer to the Lord.
As its title indicates, Grown-Up Girlfriends is written to an adult female audience, and seems intended for women college-age and older. Teenage and younger girls would benefit from the principles explained, but much of the book’s content might be beyond them. Men, and especially husbands, could benefit from reading Grown-Up Girlfriends; not because the principles have a direct application in their own lives (although many are universal), but because it would give them a better understanding of the women they live with and love.
In all, I highly recommend Grown-Up Girlfriends. Although it’s not a large book at only 228 pages, its information is useful and relevant to women’s lives today. -- Rachel Niehaus, Christian Book Previews.com
Even when life is hectic and harried, every woman has a God-given longing for relationship, and her female friends play an important role in filling that. Oliver and Smalley help women distinguish between self-centered, insecure, childish relationships and other-centered, healthy, “grown-up” relationships.
Using personal anecdotes and scriptural principles, they explain ten characteristics of a grown-up friend and offer ideas on how readers can develop these attributes in themselves. Finally, they tackle the tough issues of friendships, such as how to support a friend in crisis, how to work toward forgiveness when a friend has injured you, and how to determine when it is best to let a friendship go.