Christian Blog and Online Women's Ministry in South Africa - Cup of Faith

All My Friends Have Issues

A few months ago, I was contacted by the fantastic team from Nelson Books who had noticed that I often review new books and products here on the blog. They were kind enough to send me two books to review, including one that I had been eyeballing for a while called All My Friends Have Issues by Amanda Anderson.

South African Christian Network for Women - Cup of FaithI don’t know if it’s just me, but I often feel myself struggling to make friends – especially female friends. I am not just talking about social media friends or people who we exchange pleasantries with, I am talking about real friends who you can bear your heart and soul with, the kind of friends who aren’t afraid to call you out, but are also your lifeline when things get tough.

I am – and always have been – the sort of person who has one close friend. I can’t remember a time in my life when I have had a tribe of girlfriends that hasn’t lead to some sort of toxic relationship that ends in an earth-shattering, broken heart.

All My Friends Have Issues is a girlfriend’s guide packed with personal stories and practical advice to help us make the sort of friendships, I believe we all long for. Amanda is honest, witty and quick to call her own toxic behaviours out, while also stressing the importance of boundaries and surrounding yourself with encouraging friends.

From the word go, I felt like we could all relate to a large portion of this book and personally, I didn’t realize just how many truths I hide from others, in fear of being judged or getting hurt. Early on, in her book, Amanda highlights some ways we prevent ourselves from making authentic friendships, which include:

  • Acting as if we make more money than we really do or pretending to be financially ok when we’re not.
  • Presenting ourselves as being perfect, organized, joyful when really, we’re drowning.
  • Pretending we are sure about Jesus, when we might be struggling with big questions that we’re too afraid to ask.
  • Acting like we’re happy and grateful when we’re really struggling with depressions.
  • Pretending to like something because we’re too afraid of being an outcast for having a different opinion.
  • Regularly making excuses not to do something our friends have invited us to do, instead of telling them the real reason for not wanting to go along.

The last point is especially hard for me but in her book, Amanda explains that by making an excuse, we run the risk of making our friends feel as if we don’t want to connect or spend time with them, resulting in them doubting themselves and thinking there’s something wrong. Instead, it’s important to explain why you really don’t want to do something, which provides an opportunity to connect on a deeper level and thus building a stronger friendship. In other words, instead of pushing our friends away with excuses, we pull them in closer with our truth.

All My Friends Have Issues effortlessly blends real-life experiences, with faith-insights and psychological truths and even touches on how hysterical responses is often caused by a historical trigger, like something having happened in our childhood. I personally know that I had to work on my own past and the insecurities it has created, to connect better with the people around me.

I liked that the book touches on authentic conversations – being brave and owning your truth. While reflecting on my own friendships – ones that work, ones that have failed and ones that I wish weren’t just scratching the surface of friendship – I realized that I could be doing a whole lot better. Having had my own insecurities and flaws used against me in the past has made me reserved and scared, often avoiding those brave conversations.

Of course, opening up doesn’t guarantee a great friendship. Some issues are dealbreakers but Amanda touches on this theme throughout the book and says, “When we are willing to see our issues and work on them, God is faithful to complete the good work He began in us because the ability to love and be loved is what He most wants for His daughters.”

I have been very honest about how challenging and lonely life was, just 2-years ago, and a big reason for wanting to establish an online network for Christian women was because I never wanted other women to feel the way I felt back then. I wanted you to be able to login, find a contributor’s story you could connect with, a story that made you feel less lonely, a story you could relate to or perhaps not relate to, but still feel the need to establish friendships with each other that go beyond the words you find on this website.

All My Friends Have Issues stresses that friendship is not perfect and that perhaps I give up on friendship all too soon, while also not always having the healthiest boundaries. However, there is a difference between flawed and foolish – which Amanda highlights and supports with scripture – and it’s important to notice foolish behaviour in ourselves and those around us, in order to build meaningful relationships.

From learning to say sorry and how to work through getting hurt, to the art of listening before encouraging and overcoming our own issues, Amanda Anderson does a wonderful job of balancing it all out in a funny, sometimes too honest approach. If like me, you’re also looking to make more meaningful connections, this is a book for you!

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