The book is divided into three main parts:
“From Loneliness to Frientimacy” helps us evaluate our individual relational needs using Shasta’s 5 Circles of Connectedness so we can better see what types of friends we already have and which ones we might want to add. Another unique paradigm offered in this book is that of Frientimacy—Friendship Intimacy—that articulates the closeness we crave, the awkwardness that can come from it, and the 5 developmental stages of relationship that we must cultivate.
“Five Steps to Turn Friendly People We Meet into Friends Who Matter” covers the 5 Steps to Friendships, taking one chapter to cover each step: Be Open, Initiate Consistently, Add Positivity, Increase Vulnerability, and Practice Forgiveness. Each chapter is filled with personal stories, research, practical tips, reflection questions, and personal growth concepts. Chapter 8 includes the Frientimacy Triangle that illustrates how to increase our vulnerability in a way that is constructive, meaningful, and safe.
“Friendships Don’t Just Keep Happening: Be Intentional” covers the Five Friendship Threats—jealousy, judgment, non-reciprocation, neglect, and blame—and healthy suggested responses to each of them so we can ensure that our friendships continue to grow in maturity and meaning. The book ends with a clear plan of how to move toward the friendships that matter most to the reader.
Here's an excerpt:
There is a lie out there that real friendship just happens.
When I was new to San Francisco eight years ago, I still remember standing at a café window on Polk Street watching a group of women inside, huddled around a table laughing. Like the puppy dog at the pound, I looked through the glass, wishing someone would pick me to be theirs. I had a phone full of far-flung friends’ phone numbers, but I didn’t yet know anyone I could just sit and laugh with in a café.
It hit me how very hard the friendship process is. I’m an outgoing, socially comfortable woman with a long line of good friendships behind me. And yet I stood there feeling very lonely. And insecure. And exhausted at just the idea of how far I was from that reality.
I knew I couldn’t just walk in there and introduce myself to them. “Hi! You look like fun women, can I join you?” I would have been met with stares of pity. No one wants to seem desperate, even if we are. We don’t have platonic pick-up lines memorized. Flirting for friends seems creepy. Asking for her phone number like we’re going to call her up for a Saturday night date is just plain weird. All the batting of my eyelashes wasn’t going to send the right signals. I wanted to give them my friendship resume, my vast references from past friends who adore me, assuring them how lucky they would be to call me a friend.
But it doesn’t work that way. And so I turned away from the scene of laughter and walked away.
No, unfortunately, friendships don’t just happen.
We Value Belonging
Friendship may not happen automatically, but what we crave about them sure seems to! We all want to belong—that need to be connected to others is an inherent feeling that comes with being born. We live our entire lives trying to fit in, be known, attract acceptance, and to experience intimacy. We desperately want to have others care about us. This book is about that hunger. And more pointedly, it is about listening to it and learning how to fulfill it.
Much is written and taught about romantic love and parent-child relationships. We buy armloads of books on these subjects that feel so urgent and life consuming. Yet, when it comes to our friendships—relationships that will outweigh in quantity the number of kids and spouses most of us will have—we tend to take a much more laidback approach. We end up just hoping that we’ll meet the right women, at the right time, and both know the right way to act. While some of us have seen good modeling of healthy platonic friendships, the vast majority of us are left hoping that it just comes intuitively, as though we should know how to make and keep good friends. Few of us have been taught what we need to know....
Read the book to learn what friends you need, how to meet them, and how to develop them into healthy and meaningful friendships!
BookCircles Discussion Guides for Friendships Don't Just Happen!
Far more than just talking about friendship, these groups will be designed to help create more meaningful friendships among those attending and benefit all their other friendships! Two different discussion guides are available for free; you can choose between a one-time gathering or a four-week group. May the time together be one to remember as you help foster healthier friendships in this world!
“Making Friendships Happen!” Workbook
Packed with 21 readings and reflection exercises, this meaty workbook was lovingly written to help readers of the Shasta’s book Friendships Don’t Just Happen! create their own friendship plan. With evaluation worksheets, reflection questions, and journaling prompts, this workbook guides women through their own customized experience.
Almost all of us need to add friends to our lives, but which kind do you need most? This worksheet describes Shasta’s Circles of Connectedness, followed by questions designed to help you evaluate which of the five types of friends you’re looking for. Click the image to download!