Huge thanks to Kristen Baker for writing up her experience with hosting a book club about my last book, Friendships Don't Just Happen, so her story might inspire a few of you to do the same! Imagine having a fun evening together and engaging in conversations about your friendships while all learning together what it takes to create healthy and meaningful connections? Win:win! If you do decide to try it, I wrote up discussion guides you can download for free whether you want to do a 1-time book club or a 4-week book-club. Not sure who to invite? Read this post for ideas!
Girlfriends, I had a blast leading a book club gathering around Shasta's fantastic book Friendships Don't Just Happen! The Guide to Creating a Meaningful Circle of Friends.
I read Shasta's book after hearing her guest interview on Christine Arylo's class (Me before We) on self-love and just loved her content. As I poured into FDJH, I started to see
patterns from my past emerge, patterns in my friendships, family relationships, even dating. It was truly a book about connection, intimacy, and vulnerability. I had so many "ah-has" and "Ohhhh that's why that happened," moments while I was reading. My eyes even welled up with tears as I read the chapter on forgiveness - releasing some past feelings of rejection.
So naturally, I had to share it with my group here in Houston. I lead a sisterhood for self-exploration, a coaching community - the Divas, here in Houston (and online) and we have a monthly book club, so I added FDJH to the docket. A small group started trickling in, and we started sharing our experiences from the book. The beautiful irony was experiencing these Divas sharing their struggles with vulnerability WHILE BEING VULNERABLE. While being authentic. They showed up, shared their struggles, we connected. It was magical.
The common themes that came up for us:
- Our right-side friends (the deeper friendships) were not as full as many wanted.
- We practiced gratitude for the left-side (we even had one ah-ha that if one of the women went back and re-did her circles again and added her male friendships - it would have been a much fuller chart!).
- We talked about friendship and how it impacted our life goals, how friendship fit into the greater context of our life. We contemplated: how does it all fit together?
- We talked about the overlap in romantic relationships, family relationships, dating, to what we had learned in the book.
- We talked about what gets in the way of vulnerability: messages from our parents, past rejections and disappointments, rejection of self, approval-seeking.
- We talked about opening up the possibilities of WHO we would pursue friendships with.
Some ah-has from our group:
- "Accepting yourself is the key to building intimacy"
- "Friendships don't just happen" (yes, this was an ah-ha! ha)
- "That I am not as vulnerable in my current relationships as I would like to be"
My personal takeaways:
- I love connecting over a book club. So, yes, check - I want more of that!
- I continue to deepen my understanding of friendship, and frientimacy as a practice of self-love, self-trust, self-acceptance. And really enjoy deepening that awareness.
I am so glad I chose this book for discussion, I may have a round two because there is so much richness in the book, it is chock full of insights and I could talk about relationships, intimacy and vulnerability for HOURS. And it is really beautiful to watch people open up about their experiences with friendships.
All in all, a wonderful experience and I would highly recommend it.
Kristen Baker is a life and career coach, find out more about her here.
Don't yet have your own copy of Friendships Don't Just Happen!-- Buy it here!
Did you read the book or lead a group? Share with us in the comments a bit about your experience. Or feel free to ask any questions about how to host-- we'll help! :)